CINCINNATI -- Chinese communities around the world will welcome the Lunar New Year on Jan. 28, and according to the Chinese Zodiac, it'll be the year of the rooster.
The new year also marks the beginning of 15 days of celebration centering on food, festivities and family customs. Here are a few ways the holiday will be celebrated in Greater Cincinnati.
The Greater Cincinnati Chinese Chamber of Commerce hosts its annual gala Feb. 17 at Jack Cincinnati Casino. It will be an evening of food, entertainment and bridge-building between Greater Cincinnati and Greater China.
The menu is still being finalized, but Oriental Wok will provide the evening's dinner, which tentatively will include traditional dishes like Chinese-style roast pork, braised soy chicken and Chinese greens with oyster sauce. Entertainment will include a lion dance performance (for good luck), martial arts demonstration and performances of traditional song and dance.
WCPO-TV's Rose-Ann Aragon will emcee the gala. Proceeds will help to support the nonprofit Chinese Chamber.
6-9 p.m. Feb. 17. Jack Cincinnati Casino, 1000 Broadway St, Downtown. $150-$200. Visit china-midwest.com/gala for more information.
The Lunar New Year Party returns to the Transept with a slightly different format. This year, organizer Daspo has sharpened the focus on the "party" aspect and relegated the sustenance aspect to the organizers of the Asian Food Fest.
The party promises high-energy dancing, DJs, high-tech lights and visuals, plenty of adult beverages and a lion dance performance. There will be multiple cash bars but no cover charge. However, guests can book a VIP table for $125 that seats roughly 10 and comes with table and bottle service.
Although the party will not offer food, party-goers can buy tickets to the nearby Street Food Night Market for some quick bites.
10 p.m.- 2 a.m. Jan. 28. The Transept, 1205 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine. No cover charge; VIP tables $125 by reservation only. Ages 21 and up. 513-667-5822; firstname.lastname@example.org
Street Food Night Market is new this year. The organizers of Asian Food Fest are bringing a street food feast to the Transept to complement the Lunar New Year party.
For $30, get unlimited bites of street food from around Asia, like meat kebabs, som tam (Thai papaya salad) and dan dan noodles. Those who wish to attend can buy tickets online up until 1 p.m. the day of the event. There will be only a limited number of tickets sold at the door (for the same price). All proceeds will go toward the Asian Food Fest and other Asian cultural events in Cincinnati.
Although both the Street Food Night Market and Lunar New Year Party will be held at the Transept, they are two different events. The Street Food Night Market will occupy the indoor balcony of the second floor, which will be cleared and used for the Lunar New Year Party once the market ends.
9-11:30 p.m. Jan. 28. The Transept, 1205 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine. $30. Ages 21 and up. 513-667-5822.
The Greater Cincinnati Chinese Music Society (GCCMS) will share the stage with the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music's Philharmonia Orchestra for an evening of Chinese music. The concert will be held on Feb. 4, a day proclaimed by Mayor John Cranley as "Chinese Music Day" in Cincinnati.
The performance will include traditional Chinese instruments like the erhu (two-stringed bowed instrument) and dizi (transverse flute), and this year's concert will showcase Kun Qu Opera, one of the oldest forms of Chinese opera.
7 p.m. Feb. 4 youth pre-concert; 7:30 p.m. concert. Corbett Auditorium, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Suggested donation: $25. 513-255-0063, 513-885-1328 and 513-807-7111
The Greater Cincinnati Chinese School (GCCS) and the Confucius Institute at Miami University will present an afternoon of music and culture, culminating in a performance by the world's premier Peking Opera troupe. GCCS board chairwoman Ying Gu said, "It is a unique opportunity for the Cincinnati community to have a first-hand experience with Peking Opera, a crown jewel of Chinese classical arts."
1-5 p.m. Feb. 5: cultural exhibits and activities; 3-5 p.m.: stage performance. Matthews Auditorium & Performing Arts Center, Princeton High School, 11080 Chester Road, Sharonville. Suggested donation: $15. 513-266-0722, 513-646-3598, 513-635-4650, 513-884-7055.
Oriental Wok will once again celebrate the Lunar New Year in high fashion. The big celebration is 6-9 p.m. Feb. 19 at the Northern Kentucky location. There will be a lion dance performance, 10-course dinner and 100,000 firecrackers. Reservations are required.
6-9 p.m. Feb. 19. 317 Buttermilk Pike, Lakeside Park. $79, $29 for children ages 5-12. 859-331-3000.
99 Restaurant will offer an eight-course menu that serves up to eight people from Jan. 27 to Feb. 11. The restaurant is throwing in dessert (choice of traditional new year cake or turnip cake) at no charge.
11974 Lebanon Road, Sharonville. $99.99. 513-563-6688
Neuf will serve "good luck" food for the new year, including noodles (longevity), Sichuan-style fish (prosperity), dumplings (wealth), meatballs (family togetherness) and pan-fried rice cake Neuf style (higher income). Specials will be available Jan. 25-31.
709 Main St., Downtown. 513-381-5256.
Grand Oriental Chinese Restaurant will offer traditional new year cake (sweet glutinous rice cake) along with dim sum on the weekend of Jan. 28.
4800 Fields Ertel Road, Cincinnati, OH 45249. 513-677-3388
And there's more!
A few businesses in Over-the-Rhine are getting into the spirit of the new year, too.
Pet Wants Cincy will make dog treats in the form of fortune cookies Jan. 23-30. Instead of a paper fortune, your favorite pet will find house-made beef jerky inside.
Churchill's Fine Teas will offer free tastings of traditional Chinese teas Jan. 28-29. It also will offer curated gift box sets of the teas.
Bottle & Basket features dumpling soup for Lunar New Year.
Grace Yek writes about food for WCPO.com. She is a certified chef-de-cuisine with the American Culinary Federation, and a former chemical engineer. Questions or comments? Connect with her on Twitter: @Grace_Yek.