An Eastern Ways Martial Arts of Sacramento lion dancer is pictured at the 2010 Bok Kai Festival (photo by Ed Valusek of the Hub Camera Club)
131ST YEAR: Many of the large, well-attended, Golden State-based Chinese New Year's festivals passed a century mark many years back. But Marysville is celebrating its 131st year in 2011, meaning its sesquicentennial isn't far off, a truly major milestone. There are a few more parties to go, though, and the town's grand 2011 Bok Kai Festival takes place on Saturday, March 5 and Sunday, March 6.
BOK KAI TEMPLE: The organizers describe this restored 1888 landmark as the "heart of the festival"; and on Saturday, not far from the temple, the much-photographed Bok Kai dragon will dance down the street (joining other parade touchstones like floats). Sunday is Bomb Day, which means things will be getting very firecrackery around the town. Get info on the lion dancing and other performances happening throughout the weekend, as well as the history of Marysville, which is known as "California's Chinatown." The Yuba County community also is sometimes known as "California's Oldest Little City," a very excellent handle indeed.