It was a rainy week, and people were itching to head outdoors by the time Saturday rolled around. Many found themselves drawn to the hubbub at the center of Oakland Chinatown, where the annual Lunar New Year Bazaar was held. Offered two weeks shy of Chinese New Year, the street fair is meant to usher in the popular holiday as Chinese American families began their preparations.
Roughly 100 stalls were spread out in two blocks over the weekend, with local merchants shouting hoarsely about their dried goods, traditional garb, good luck plants and accessories as shoppers haggled for a better price. The event has become an Oakland tradition since the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce held the first one in 2001; its 15th recurrence celebrating the Year of the Monkey.
Several passersby murmured in disappointment at this year’s missing lion and dragon dances – reasons undetermined yet, but more celebrations area round the corner. The Oakland Museum of California will be holding a Lunar New Year and Valentine’s Day fair on February 14, and the Oakland Asian Cultural Center similar festivities on February 27.