Special Event     

Dragon Dance and Parade

The Oregon Historical Society (OHS), in partnership with local dragon and lion dance teams, hosted a mile long parade on February 7, 2016 to kick off the Chinese New Year. The Dragon Dance began at the Oregon Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association on the corner of NW Davis & 4th Ave., continued through Chinatown, down 3rd Ave., and up SW Jefferson. The celebration continued at OHS with tea, sweet treats, and special performances by local Lion Dance teams!

Event Type: Special EventAudience(s): Family-friendlyLocation: Portland

The dragon, owned by the Portland Chinatown History and Museum Foundation, has not been used in a public parade for at least ten years, though some members of the community say it has not been in a public performance for nearly twenty years. It takes twenty-one people to carry the 60-foot dragon, and the parade team will be comprised of members of Lee Association Dragon & Lion Dance Team (led by Terry Lee), N.W. Dragon & Lion Dance Association (led by Wally Chow), International Lion Dance (led by Michael Choi), as well as volunteers recruited by the Oregon Historical Society, many of whom were new to this important tradition in the Chinese American community.

The parade marked the start of Chinese New Year on Monday, February 8, 2016, as well as the opening of two exhibitions at the Oregon Historical Society. The Oregon Historical Society is proud to host Chinese American: Exclusion / Inclusion, on display through June 1, 2016. On loan from the New-York Historical Society, this exhibition will make its only appearance on the West Coast at OHS before being sent to China for display.

In conjunction, the Oregon Historical Society's museum will also open a second exhibition on February 29 entitled Beyond the Gate: A Tale of Portland's Historic Chinatowns. This original exhibit tells the hundred year history of Portland's Old Chinatown (1850-1905) and New Chinatown (1905-1950). Unbeknownst to many Oregonians, Portland in fact was home to the second largest Chinatown in the nation in 1900.

News Coverage

Dragon arrives at Oregon Historical Society, ringing in Lunar New Year

OregonLive, February 07, 2016
No one remembers the last time this almost 100-feet-long dragon was used in public. Some say 10 years, others think twice that. Rebecca Liu, whose late husband Liu Chi helped bring the traditional puppet to Portland in 1986 for the dedication of the Chinatown Gate, thinks it last danced in a Starlight Parade. On Sunday, 21 volunteers breathed life back into the dragon, creating a festive spectacle in downtown Portland as the dragon undulated and circled back on itself over a 1.4 mile route to the Oregon Historical Society.

Ore. Historical Society celebrates Chinese New Year with mile-long parade

KATU, February 07, 2016

The Oregon Historical Society celebrated the Chinese New Year Sunday with a mile-long parade in downtown Portland.

It included the usage of a 60-foot dragon that requires 21 people to operate it. It hasn't been seen in public for at least 10 years.

The start of the Chinese New Year is Monday, Feb. 8. Oregon Historical Society is opening two new exhibitions to mark the event, including "Chinese American: Exclusion/Inclusion" and "Beyond the Gate: A Tale of Portland's Historic Chinatowns," that will open Feb. 29.