AMHERST — The community is invited to welcome in the Year of the Dragon and learn more about the spring festival at Amherst Regional Middle School on Saturday, Feb. 17.

The festival, organized by Amherst’s Human Rights Commission and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, will feature a range of activities and foods designed to provide more information about the origins and traditions of Spring Festival.

“The goal of the festival is to honor the tradition of the Asian community, educate others, and create connection and community,” explained Jennifer Moyston, assistant director for diversity, equity and inclusion.

The Spring Festival began in 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic, so this is only the second in-person festival. This year’s festival will begin with Dr. Lily Soh explaining the origins and traditions of Spring Festival. A performance by East Culture Inc. will follow and include a dragon dance and other traditional Spring Festival dances and songs. Throughout the day, there will be red envelopes and lanterns for decorating. At noon, the Town Council will read the 2024 Spring Festival Proclamation.

After the proclamation, attendees can enjoy a lunch of traditional foods such as longevity noodles and dumplings from local restaurants including Formosa, Oriental Flavor, Fresh Side, Crazy Noodles and Ginger Garden.

The festival is part of the broader mission of the Human Rights Commission of ensuring the rights and protections of all citizens.

“One way for us to [educate the community] is through cultural heritage celebrations,” said Moyston. “Cultural heritage celebrations promote awareness and create connection and community. Breaking down stereotypes through education allows us to have a deeper understanding and honor the many cultures within our diverse community.”

Amherst Regional Middle School is located at 170 Chestnut St. The program begins at 10:30 a.m. and ends with lunch at 12:15 p.m. The family-friendly event is free for all. Registration is appreciated but not required. The form can be found on the town of Amherst website.

Tina Lesniak
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