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Flushing gears up for Lunar New Year bashes

Flushing BID Executive Director Mabel Law said more than a dozen events are set to take place throughout the month of February, but the main attraction will be the parade, which will take place at 11 a.m. Saturday morning.The Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival, is considered the most important of the traditional Chinese and Korean holidays. The two-week long festival begins on the first day of the Lunar calendar and ends with what is known as the Lantern Festival.Feb. 7 marks the beginning of the year of the rat, which, contrary to the revulsion it inspires in New York City today, is considered to be a protector and bringer of material prosperity in traditional Asian culture.This year's parade will begin at Union Street and 37th Ave., travel south on Union Street, turn right onto Sanford Ave. and then Kissena Boulevard and finally merge with Main Street, ending at the corner of Main Street and 37th Avenue.More than 4,000 people march in the parade annually and thousands more line the streets to watch. The most popular viewing areas are along Main Street near Flushing Library.Law encouraged attendees to get to the parade as early as possible and to take mass transit where available. Event organizers received a scare just a few weeks ago when the Metropolitan Transit Authority began track work on the No. 7 subway line, shutting the busy line down between Flushing and Woodside for three weekends. The work was completed in late January, however, and the train is expected to run on a normal schedule during the parade festivities."That was a major concern throughout the Flushing community," said Myra Baird-Herce, the Flushing BID marketing task force director.Following the parade, Flushing's Korean and Chinese communities will split off to continue celebrating at two separate locations. Both the Chinese celebration, held at Flushing Mall, and the Korean celebration, held at Korea Village, will begin immediately following the parade and will feature traditional activities and performances representing their respective cultures until 5 p.m.Flushing Town Hall is also hosting a series of events for Lunar New Year, including an art exhibit featuring traditional Chinese windows and doorways, which will run through the end of February.For a full list of events and performances going on throughout the month in and around Flushing, visit www.flushingbid.com.Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at Sstirling@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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