By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Super Cao Nguyen of Oklahoma City, will present Lunar New Year in the Gardens on Saturday, February 1. Celebrating the Year of the Rat, the event will take place at the Myriad Botanical Gardens from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The Rat is the first of all zodiac animals. According to a myth, the Jade Emperor said the order would be decided by the order in which the animals arrived to his party. As the story goes, the Rat tricked the Ox into giving him a ride. As they approached the finish line, the Rat jumped down and landed ahead of the Ox, arriving first.
Activities at the Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory lobby will include Kaleidoscope Arts Face painting, Yusuke Calligraphy, the Malcolm Zachariah Origami workshop, Lunar New Year crafts for kids, Wine and Palette Painting pop-ins, cultural presentations, a photo booth, and the Conservatory Lunar New Year scavenger hunt (self-led / included with admission).
Free entrance to the Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory for ages 12 and under from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. T-shirts will be on sale for $15 each.
Live performances will include a martial arts demonstration by Golden Tiger Martial Arts Studio; a Traditional Tai Chi 24 form demonstration by the YMCA of OKC, and a presentation by the Little Miss Vietnam Olivia Tran dance group.
Representing the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) Vietnamese Student Association, Vy Vo, Miss Vietnam International UCO, will perform on stage with the Vien Minh Buddhist youth group. There will be a special Chinese zither performance of Big Fish.
An American singer, songwriter and major TV personality in China, Slater Rhea, from the Confucius Institute at the University of Oklahoma, will perform Swan Goose and Chinese Girl. An OU graduate, Slater majored in Chinese Language & Literature and Asian Studies. Rhea views himself as a cultural diplomat, using music as a universal language. He has performed for dignitaries such as former U.S. President Bill Clinton, former U.S. Ambassador to China Max Baucus and former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
At 1:15 p.m., the Hưng Việt Lion Dance Association will present the much-anticipated Lion Dance on the Myriad Water Stage.
Closing out the event, at 1:30 p.m., participants will have the opportunity to join the Hưng Việt Lion Dance Association performers as they lead a parade around the Gardens’ lower lake area.
Celebrating its 40th anniversary, Super Cao Nguyen, at 2668 N. Military, is Oklahoma City’s oldest ethnic grocery store, offering fresh produce, poultry fish, meats and more.
In the mid-1970’s, two Vietnamese refugees came to Oklahoma City after the fall of Saigon and opened the original Cao Nguyen, off Classen Boulevard. The store moved to its current larger location in 2003 and became Super Cao Nguyen.