Year of the Dog Celebrate the Lunar New Year Tacoma style

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The Lunar New Year, the start of the Year of the Dog, falls on Feb. 16 (the Lunar New Year is the date of the new moon between Jan. 21 and Feb. 20). That means that the mischievous minions of Ms. Monkey – the Monkeyshiners who make glass balls and other treasures to hide in Tacoma’s parks, fountains and beaches – will be out hiding their Year-of-the-Dog-themed orbs. The University of Puget Sound will host a traditional Lunar New Year lion dance and the Lincoln District will throw a celebration to bring in the Year of the Dog in style.

Monkey Shines

Dates falling before and after Feb. 16

Locations around Tacoma

For the past 14 years, Tacoma has been fortunate to be visited by Monkeyshines, an art project undertaken by a mischievous and mysterious group of artists and volunteers that make glass balls emblazoned with the Chinese zodiac symbol for each particular year.

In 2004, the year of the monkey, the group started their annual tradition with 200 glass balls hidden around Tacoma. This year, the mystery monkeys aim to distribute 2,000 glass spheres and other objects on local beaches, in branches of trees, around downtown and in neighborhood parks.

Monkeyshines is not an organization; it is an event put on by anonymous artists as a random act of kindness and a celebration of the city. Akin to a giant scavenger hunt, glass gifts are hidden in public places throughout Tacoma. Other artists have joined in the fun. For the past several years, the poster-makers of Beautiful Angle have placed Chinese zodiac posters around town. A dude dubbed “Marbleman” began leaving handmade marbles all over town some years back. Another entity called “Moonsnail” drops decorated shells on public pathways. There is also talk of a group called “The 12th Girls” who make glass stones emblazoned with the number 12 on them and hide them here and there.

“We make stuff and we hide it,” is Monkeyshines in a nutshell. If you’re a maker of things, you too can become a Monkeyshiner. Ms. Monkey reminds those wishing to leave their own Monkeyshines creations that all gifts should be distributed only on public property.

Monkeyshines is soliciting financial help. Those who make a contribution of $100 or more will receive a candle cup embossed with the Year of the Dog symbol. The cups will be available for pick-up at Creative Forces in the Hotel Murano Tacoma.

Join the citywide treasure hunt. Around the Lunar New Year get out into town and try to find your own prize. Remember, however that the first, second and third rule of Monkeyshine is: Take only one. Leave surprises for others to find. Hint: while the treasures are said to be hidden from Brown’s Point to South Tacoma, the buzz is that places to look are the Chinese Reconciliation Park, Wright Park, Titlow Beach and fountains around town. The Feb. 16 date is not hard and fast. There may be several rounds of treasure-hiding. Some may be earlier and some later than the actual date of the lunar new year.

Inquiries can be directed to Ms_Monkey@hotmail.com. Info: www.facebook.com/MonkeyshinesTacoma/

Lunar New Year: Traditional Lion Dance

Friday, Feb.16, 4:15–5:15 p.m.

University of Puget Sound, Wheelock Student Center

Celebrate the first day of the Lunar New Year by joining the Center for Intercultural and Civic Engagement (CICE) for a traditional lion dance performance. Authentic Asian desserts and snacks will be sold, with proceeds going to the Asian Pacific Islander scholarship. This event is free and open to the public; all identities are welcome. Info: www.pugetsound.edu/news-and-events/events-calendar/details/lunar-new-year-traditional-lion-dance/2018-02-16/

Lincoln District Lunar

New Year 2018: Year of The Dog

Sunday, Feb. 18, 10 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.

Tacoma’s Lincoln District (South 38th Street and Yakima to S. 39th and Yakima)

Join the Lincoln District in this year’s Lunar New Year event where Asia Pacific Cultural Center is partnering to bring you an event full of great performances. The event is family friendly, free admission, filled with vendors, kids’ activities, live performances and features a food walk from local businesses. Parking will be available on side streets and Lincoln High School student lot. Info: www.facebook.com/events/1990841764531480/

Performances by:

  • 10-10:30 a.m. Lion Dance Opening Performance and Speeches
  • 10:30-11 a.m. Variya – Traditional Thailand Dance
  • 11-11:30 a.m. Stewart Middle School Poly Club – Haka
  • Noon-12:30 p.m. Esplendor Mexicano – Hispanic Style Dance
  • 12:30-1 p.m. Okinawa Arts Karate – Okinawa Heritage and Tradition
  • 1-1:30 p.m. Hula Halau “O Kealaakua Naniloa Mana’oakamai
  • 1:30-2 p.m. Rukio – Traditional Somalian Dance
  • 2-2:30 p.m. Khemarak Samaki – Traditional Cambodian Performance
  • 2:30-3 p.m. Hearts for Kids – Samoa Traditional Performance
  • 3-3:45 p.m. OkinawaTaiko Team OKK- Odori-Okinawa Folk Dance

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