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Alan Thicke spotted on Rodeo Drive for Chinese New Years, read all about it in Hollywood Patch

Posted by Levine Communications Office on January 24, 2012

Beverly Hills Celebrates the Chinese New Year

ImageBy Marie Cunningham January 23, 2012

Monday begins the “Year of the Dragon” in the Chinese calendar, and Beverly Hills honored the occasion on Friday with its first Chinese New Year celebration on Rodeo Drive.

“We want to wish you all a very prosperous and healthy and happy Year of the Dragon,” Julie Wagner, executive director of the Beverly Hills Conference and Visitors Bureau, told those in attendance at a special VIP reception hosted by porcelain retailer Lladró.

In Chinese culture, dragons bring people good luck. The dragon year is revered as the most important year of the Chinese zodiac. It represents ambition, success, passion, boldness, perseverance and divinity. Children born during dragon years are traditionally expected to enjoy health, wealth and long life.

“Celebrations like this Chinese New Year event are very important to Beverly Hills because we recognize the local Chinese tour operators and government officials, and highlight our appreciation for the Chinese culture,” Vice Mayor William Brien told the reception’s guests. “China is California’s fastest-growing inbound market. In 2010, China sent over 400,000 visitors to the California area, many of them coming to Beverly Hills and here to Rodeo Drive.”

Mary Su, mayor pro tem of Walnut, CA, told Brien that, like many tourists from her native China, she is a frequent visitor to Beverly Hills.

“I do spend a lot of money here in your city,” she said.

Outside of Lladró, hundreds of residents and visitors lined up to be one of 1,000 people to receive a commemorative Beverly Hills T-shirt and envelope containing special offers from participating Golden Triangle shops and restaurants. The East Wind Dance Troupe out of Los Angeles’ Chinatown also performed the traditional dragon dance and lion dance with its drum corps.

Actor Alan Thicke of Growing Pains fame was on hand to assist the lion dance performers in acting out “cai ching,” or “plucking the greens.” During the Chinese New Year, it is a tradition for lion dancers to go from business to business and be fed heads of lettuce. This custom is meant to bring prosperity to the business for the upcoming year. In return, the lion receives a red envelope filled with money.

Notable attendees at Friday’s festivities included City Treasurer Eliot Finkel, former Mayor Linda J. Briskman, former Mayor Nancy Krasne, Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Alexander Stettinski and Assemblywoman Betsy Butler, who is campaigning to represent the new 50th Assembly District, which includes Beverly Hills.

“It’s the year of the dragon! Who wouldn’t be celebrating the Chinese New Year?” Butler told Patch. “It’s a great, prosperous year. Let’s be festive and hopeful.”

http://beverlyhills.patch.com/articles/beverly-hills-celebrates-the-chinese-new-year

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