Winter months are more than the Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day

 

What if your team doesn’t make Super Bowl LVII on Feb. 12. Or you crave a fun event to brighten winter. Around Chicago found four events. At least one should appeal.

 

Chinatown celebrates Lunar New Year with a parade at it Gateway. (Photo courtesy of Chinatown Community.)
Chinatown celebrates Lunar New Year with a parade at its Gateway. (Photo courtesy of Chinatown Community.)

Celebrate Chinese New Year

Also called the Spring Festival and a celebration of the Lunar New Year, 2023 is the Year of the Rabbit and goes from Jan. 22 through Feb. 5.

 Chicago’s Chinatown and Uptown (Argyle) neighborhoods hold lion and dragon dances, parades and other Lunar New Year events.

Uptown celebrates Jan. 28 from noon to 4 p.m. with the parade stepping off at 1 p.m. from Argyle Street and Winthrop Avenue. For details visit Argyle Lunar New YearChinatown’s parade is Jan. 29, 1 p.m. at 24th Street and Wentworth Avenue. See details at Chinatown Community Lunar New Year.  

Or celebrate with dinner at a Chinese restaurant. Most decorate in red and some hand out red envelopes.

 February starts with a fun, fanciful forecast in Woodstock, IL, northwest of Chicago. “Groundhog Day,” a movie that celebrates a rodent’s telling when Spring will come, was mostly made in Woodstock, IL. The town subbed, sorta, for Punxsutawney, PA. The month continues with the country’s largest auto show, followed by the Chicago Botanic Garden’s famed Orchid Show.

 

committee asks Woodstock Willie his forecast of when Spring will come. (J Jacobs photo
A member of Woodstock’s groundhog committee holds Woodstock Willie and asks his forecast of when Spring will come. (J Jacobs photo)

Go to Woodstock for Groundhog Day

The tiny town of Woodstock celebrates its “Groundhog” film locations and continually show the movie beginning Feb. 1, 2023. But the main event is early morning Feb. 2, when their groundhog, Woodstock Willie, forecasts the coming of Spring.

Released in 1993, the movie reappears every year similar to its theme of caught in a time warp. Directed by Harold Ramis with screenplay by Ramis and Danny Rubin it stars Bill Murray as cynical weatherman Phil Conners and Andie MacDowell as local TV producer Rita Hanson who wants “world peace.” 

Woodstock celebrates every year with do-it-yourself tours, film showings and other events through Feb. 5. For the full schedule and directions visit Woodstock Groundhog Days.  For info on the Punxsutawney Phil groundhog in Pennsylvania visit  Home | The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club.

 

Guests view an unveiling in 2020. (Photo courtey of CAS)
Guests view an unveiling in 2020. (Photo courtey of CAS)

Check out the Chicago Auto Show

Take a look at today’s and tomorrow’s vehicles from SUV’s to concept cars. Use the simulators. Eat and just have fun. Held at McCormick Place, Chicago’s huge convention center, 2301. S. King Dr, Chicago, the show runs Feb. 11- 20, 2023. For the schedule, pricing and list of things to do visit About the Show | Chicago Auto Show and its links.

 

Chicago Botanic Garden put on a colorful orchid show in 2022. (J Jacobs photo)
Chicago Botanic Garden put on a colorful orchid show in 2022. (J Jacobs photo)

Discover beautiful, even bold, colors at the Chicago Botanic Garden Orchid Show

Stroll through CBG’s Greenhouses, Feb 11 through March 25, 2023 to see different sizes and colors of orchids. Garden notes predict 2023 will have even more color than 2022. In addition, orchid specialists and vendors will be on hand to answer questions and sales. The Illinois Orchid Society will also be there March 11-12.

The Chicago Botanic Garden is at 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe, east of Edens Expressway. For more information, tickets and hours visit The Orchid Show | Chicago Botanic Garden.

Jodie Jacobs

Looking forward

 

Chinese New Year (Photo by SnoStudios, LLC)
Chinese New Year (Photo by SnoStudios, LLC)

The year 2021 looked weird on the event calendar. Fun events and show openings were penciled in and then many were crossed out, erased or footnoted with wear a mask and bring the vax card.

It’s hard to predict if 2022 will be an echo but we can ruminate on these five annual happenings that may be experienced in person, on zoom, on TV or ordered and delivered.

Martin Luther King Jr Day

January is kind of quiet but the third weekend typically offers community service opportunities in honor and memory of Martin Luther King Jr. The official recognition day, a federal holiday, is Jan. 17. For more information visit MLK Day | AmeriCorps.

Chinese New Year

You have another chance to celebrate a new year. Food, dragon parades and most traditional observances start Feb. 1 in 2022 to celebrate the Year of the Tiger. They continue through Feb. 15 with the Lantern Festival. For more information visit Chinese New Year.

Groundhog Day
If you want to know how many more weeks of winter are ahead, ask a groundhog. A long time European folklore tradition of predicting the weather by watching animal behavior, the practice moved to the Pennsylvania area where it became a full-blown celebration in Punxsutawney known as Groundhog Day; observed on Feb. 2. Translated into a popular romcom written by Danny Rubin and Harold Ramis and directed by Ramis the movie was filmed in Woodstock, IL starring Bill Murray and Andie Macdowell. For Punxsutawaney info see Visit Punxsutawney. For the movie visit Groundhog Day 1993.

Super Bowl LVI

If traveling to southern California you need to know the Super Bowl and crowds will be hanging out Feb. 13 at SoFi Stadium, the Rams and chargers home opened in fall of 2020. If watching on TV for the commercials and half time the show starts at 6:30 p.m. ET and is on NBC. Visit Super Bowl Sunday NFL.

Valentine’s Day

Feb. 14, known by some cynics as a Hallmark celebration because of all the cards sent, the day is a chance to say thank you with flowers, candy and dinner out. Some historic notes say the day is really St. Valentine’s Day for a Christian martyr and other sources say it dates to the Roman holiday Lupercalia.. Either way, the day is a chance to express affection. Visit Valentine’s Day/History.

Jodie Jacobs

Around Town finds a few lesser known Chinese Lunar celebrations

 

Year of the Rat begins with the eve Jan. 24. (Photo courtesy of Chicago Cultural Alliance)
Chinese New Year festive vector card design with rat, zodiac symbol of year 2020

Restaurants and neighborhoods are celebrating Chinese Lunar Year of the Rat for 15 days. Lunar New Year’s Eve is Jan. 24 and the first day is Jan. 25, 2020. Here are some celebrations that may not have made your radar.

 

Asian-based Peninsula Chicago Hotel celebration

Go to the Peninsula Chicago, Jan. 25 at 3 p.m. for a colorful lion dance, complete with noises to scare away evil spirits. Then follow the dance inside to the lobby where you see lanterns, red flowers and tangerine trees. The outside of the hotel will be illuminated in red for the season. Peninsula Chicago is at 108 E. Superior St. at North Michigan Avenue.

South-East Asia Center celebration

Make a reservation for a family-style lunch Feb. 1, 11:30 a.m. at Eurama Restaurant. Hosted by the South-East Asia Center in Uptown the event includes cross-cultural entertainment. Cost is $25. Eurama is at 4936 N Broadway. For reservations and more information visit seasiacenter.

Chinese American Museum celebration

Reserve attendance ahead for the annual Chinese American Museum of Chicago Lunar Celebration Feb. 9 from 2 to 6 p.m. There will be music, food, arts, crafts and the Chinese Lion Dance. Cost ahead is $10-$15. Same day walk-in is not guaranteed but will cost an extra $5. The museum is at 238 W. 23rd St.  For more tickets and more information visit Eventbrite or Chicago Cultural Alliance event.

For other Chinese New Year celebrations visit Chicago Theater and Arts/Parades to Performances. For more restaurants visit Dining Out-Eating In.

Jodie Jacobs

 

 

 

 

 

Chinese New Year food and shopping events

The Peninsula Chicago is ready for Chinese New Year. (Photo courtesy of Peninsula Chicago)
The Peninsula Chicago is ready for Chinese New Year. (Photo courtesy of Peninsula Chicago)

If you have a Chinese restaurant near you it is likely decorated for the Chinese New Year and offering a special menu. During  the Chinese New Year celebrations Feb. 4 through Feb. 17, 2019.

Go. Enjoy. And look at the paper placemat that might be at your place setting because it likely has the Chinese Zodiac on it or information that this is the Year of the Pig.

Then, if looking for something special to eat or do here are some suggestions.

 

Dining

 

The Furama Restaurant in the Uptown Argyle neighborhood is holding the Lunar New Year Celebration for the South-East Asia Center at 11:30 a.m. Feb. 9, 2019. The special event features entertainment and a 10-course traditional, Chinese-style banquet of seafood chowder, taro duck, roast chicken, walnut shrimp, mushrooms, vegetables, noodles with beef and broccoli, plus dessert. Cost $25.

Entertainment will be cross-cultural music and other performances representing Asian and non-Asian cultures because the South-East Asia Center strives to “Build Bridges” of understanding between all cultures. For reservations visit SE Asia Center New YearFurama Restaurant is at 4936 N. Broadway at Argyle.

 

Hing Kee Restaurant holds its annual New Year Dumpling Making Dinner at 3:30 p.m. Feb. 9 and Feb. 16, 2019. The event includes storytelling, Lion Dance, dumpling making and a 10-course, traditional Chinese meal. Cost is $40 adults, $35 children under age 12. Call (312) 842-1988 or visit Chinese New Year Dumpling Making Dinner Eventbrite.

Hing Kee Restaurant is at 2140 S. Archer Ave., 2nd floor.  For more Chinese cultural information visit ChicagoCCI .

 

Celebrate the Year of the Pig with a Chinese New Year themed afternoon tea in The lobby at the Peninsula Chicago Feb . 4-10. There will be a Lion Dance show. For tea reservations  call (312) 573-6695 or visit Peninsula Chinese New Year. The Peninsula Chicago is at 108 E. Superior St. at Michigan Avenue.

 

Shopping

Two shopping centers, Fashion Outlets of Chicago in Rosemont, and The Shops at Northbridge, Chicago, will be handing out Chinese New Year-style red envelopes with special store offers  Feb. 2-17, 2019.

At Fashion Outlets go to Concierge Services on Level 1 near Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH for an envelope containing : Year of the Pig Savings Pass that provides up to $800 in savings and a complimentary bag. For more information visit Fashion Outlets of Chicago . Fashion Outlets is at 5220 Fashion Outlets Way, Rosemont.

At the Shops at North Bridge go to Concierge Servies on Level One near Nordstrom for the red envelope. In addition,  North Bridge visitors can see the Huaxing Arts Troupe and visit activity booths from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Feb. 3. The Shops at North Bridge is at 520 N. Michigan Ave. For more information visit Shops at North Bridge.

Jodie Jacobs

.