BI’s Chinese New Year celebration canceled

ChineseNewYearBainbridge Island won’t be ringing in the Chinese New Year with the pomp seen in years past.

Not enough volunteers stepped up to organize the 2010 celebration, according to members of the Bainbridge Island Chinese Connection, a nonprofit cultural group that established the event in 2006.

Previous celebrations drew as many as 3,000 people to Winslow for parades, traditional music, firecrackers, Chinese lion dancers, film showings, food booths and cultural displays.

“It’s a lot of work,” BICC co-founder Bill Evans said. “It’s tough to get volunteers for this. We had no problem finding people to help out for a few hours (during the event), but for people to help out with planning this – that’s another story.”

Evans said some of BICC’s key board members have moved on to other interests, putting the bulk of the celebration’s organizing on a smaller group of members.

“We’re burned out, basically,” he said.

The event was held in late January or early February, with planning usually beginning during the previous summer.

With a new influx of board members and other ambitious volunteers, Evans hopes to restart the celebration in 2011.

The event sprang from gatherings of islanders who had, like Evans, lived in China and wanted to experience Chinese cultural events on the island.

BICC has also organized traditional dance classes for Bainbridge high school students, Chinese paper arts events for children and a Mandarin language learning center.

For more information, visit BICC’s website, www.bichineseconnection.org.