Talk of the Town - Black sheep February 05 2003

By now, many New Year's resolutions have been broken. But don't fret. The upcoming Chinese New Year, beginning Feb. 1, offers you a second chance to renew failed resolutions.

Atlanta's Chinese Culture Center is hosting a two-day festival celebrating the Lunar New Year, the Year of the Ram, Feb. 8-9. The festival, a 20-year-old Atlanta custom, draws between 7,000 and 8,000 people yearly.

Fortune tellers will gladly inform you of your destiny for the year 4700 (by the Chinese calendar), but for those not interested in astrology, you can sample a hodgepodge of regional Chinese foods from the festival's many booths. And, yes, no festival is complete without music and dance. Ornate dragon and lion dances, as well as popular Chinese folk music, will keep even the idlest mind entertained. Following the dances, traditional red packets, symbolizing good luck and wealth, will be distributed to the audience. Don't lose that packet.

The festival's executive director Frank Ma views the festival as an enjoyable, culture-sharing process.

"The lunar festival provides an opportunity for Atlanta's Chinese population to share some of their culture with other members of the Atlanta community," he says.

$3-$5. Feb. 8-9 beginning at 11 a.m. Chinese Culture Center, 5377 New Peachtree Road. 770-312-3622.