Hustle and Bustle of An Interactive Journey
With the cooperation of some 40 participating local Chinese and other organizations A Passage to China, an interactive journey, enjoyed a brilliant success at the Southdale Center Court on May 17. An initiative of the Chinese Heritage Foundation and China Insight, this inaugural event featured interactive games designed to highlight Chinese culture, history and geography.
With hearts stricken by the devastating earthquake in Sichuan Province in the immediate preceding days, the Chinese community also made use of this occasion to illuminate the geography of that region. CHF provided a handout that listed charitable organizations that have set up special relief funds for this tragedy. Heading the list was the CAAM China Earthquake School Reconstruction Fund at The Minneapolis Foundation.
Responding to enticing advance notices designed by volunteer graphic designer Will Ahern, families arrived at Southdale early and found the Center Court transformed into a section of the Great Wall in China, complete with a tower and colorful flags. Designed and executed by a team of enthusiastic volunteers headed by Hong Lin, Joy Shi and Charles Lee, this scenery provided a wonderful backdrop for the bustle of activities that began as soon as the event opened.
Heralded by an eruption of mock firecrackers (popping balloons) and a dragon dance that circled the mall on two floors, the event took off in a whirlwind of activities. Eye-catching activities such as paper folding, making of red lanterns, opera masks and harmonicas, or use of chopsticks soon had many children thoroughly engrossed. Games in Chinese trivia, puzzles or riddles, moved the energy level into high gear. The 'passports' of these children, complete with a map of China, were soon filled with stamps awarded at the completion of each activity. After securing a requisite age-appropriate number of stamps, these children rushed to the CHF table to claim their individual prize: a hong bao containing an 'ancient' Chinese coin on a string necklace. Soon there were scores of these necklaces sparkling everywhere.
For the adult attendees there were CIAC Travel to answer questions regarding travel to China, and TeaSource to provide samples of premiere teas. Name translation and advice of fortune dispensed by Carnac the Wise added a dollop of humor to the festive occasion.
And no Chinese event would be complete without the showcasing of regional cuisines: Black Bamboo Restaurant and Tea House Restaurant were there to satisfy every palette with their authentic specialties.
Throughout the day there were continuous cultural performances under the tower of the Great Wall: singing, story telling, dances, and fashion shows kept a diverse audience enchanted. Away from the tower and playing on the ancient Chinese musical instrument, guzheng, were Lisa Veronneau and Jarrelle Barton, two engaging performers who attracted a steady stream of listeners with their artistry and easygoing banter.
These performances, together with the numerous interactive games and authentic cuisines, succeeded in transporting visitors on A Passage to China within the familiar surroundings of a shopping mall. Promoting cross cultural understanding and harmony is a primary focus of both the Chinese Heritage Foundation and China Insight. With the overwhelming support of so many volunteers and organizations, a significant step in that direction has been taken. Permanently etched in the mind of the visitor is the scene of the dragon, danced by a group of students from Breck School, being chased by a stream of excited and giggling children.
The Chinese Heritage Foundation expresses its deep gratitude to its corporate partner, China Insight, and its publisher, Greg Hugh, in particular, for their encouragement, advice, and cooperation throughout the planning and execution phases of this event. We also thank all the participating organizations and the many individual volunteers for donating their considerable talent and their many hours of cheerful dedication in making this event a brilliant success.
American Academy of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
Asian Pacific Cultural Center (APCC)
Association of Minnesota Chinese Physicians
CAAM Chinese Dance Theater
CAAM Chinese Language School
Center for Chinese Culture (3C)
University of Minnesota China Center
Chinese American Association of Minnesota (CAAM)
Chinese Asian American forDanSa Ballroom
Chinese American Business Association of Minnesota (CABAM)
Chinese American Information Storage Society (CAISS)
Chinese Heritage Foundation
Chinese Musical Gallery
Chinese Senior Citizens Society
Chinese Social Service Center
Group of schools that has organized trips to China
Hua Xia School
Hunan Folks Association
Minhua Minnesota China Academy
Minnesota Chinese Dance Theater
Minnesota Chinese Day Care & Learning Center
Minnesota Jiang Zhe Folks Association
University Alumni Association
MN Trade Office
Red Thread Charities
ShanDong Folks Asscociation
Sun Ray Culture & Education
Tsinghua Alumni Association of Minnesota
Twin Cities Chinese Dance Center
University of Minnesota East Asian Library
United States-China People's Friendship Association, Minnesota Chapter
United States China Business Connections
Xin Xing Academy