One of Wichita's beloved cultural celebrations – the Chinese Lunar New Year – returns Saturday, Feb. 10 at Kim Son Asian Market.

Tony Vu, a Wichita native and Wichita State University graduate, has attended this event for 25 years. He cherishes it and looks forward to this tradition with his family and hopes to pass it down for generations to come.

"This rich celebration holds a special place in my heart because of the meaning behind it – to bring peace and prosperity to the community," he said.

A person smiles as they peek out of the mouth of a dragon costume during a Lunar New Year celebration

The festivities will kick off with three lion dance performances and rhythmic music, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the parking lot of the grocery store located at 960 E. Pawnee Street. Kim Son Asian Market is not only a hub for fresh produce, meats, and homemade delicacies, but a cultural epicenter for Asian time-honored traditions.

After 25 years of celebrating the Lunar New Year, Tony still gets excited to join in on the festivities at Kim Son. “The lion dances are the whole essence of this celebration. The dances are supposed to bring peace and prosperity to those who watch it, while also driving away evil spirits.”

A dance team performs in dragon costumes as part of a Lunar New Year celebration

The lion dance schedule features the St. Anthony Team at 11 a.m., All Saints Team at noon and Tri Pho Team at 1 p.m.

During these dances, the store will be closed for operation. After the celebration, the store will open up for attendees to purchase a variety of premade food and cultural snacks. Be sure to try Tony's favorite snack, the Shrimp chips and a Strawberry lychee drink. And as if that's not enough, make sure to stay and receive a lucky New Year's red envelope – a symbol of good fortune and blessings for the year ahead.

The Lunar New Year is a festival typically celebrated in Asian culture to signify new beginnings. This festival is celebrated with the first new moon of the Lunar calendar, hence the name Lunar New Year. It is a celebration of the arrival of spring, a time to honor ancestors and be with family.  This year, 2024, is extra special because it marks the majestic Year of the Dragon, symbolizing imperial power and authority across many Asian cultures.

As Tony reflects on Saturday’s celebration, he thinks back to his parents and ahead to his children.

“I always come to show my support to the community on Lunar New Year. I did it with my parents and now I do it with my children to show them how amazing it is to be part of such a beautiful community and culture.”

Two people perform in costumes during a Lunar New Year celebration in Wichita

Don't miss out on this incredible opportunity to be part of something truly magical – a time of renewal and collective hope for a brighter, more prosperous future.

Learn more about Wichita’s rich Asian culture in this guide.