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SEATTLE - The loud popping noise from hundreds of firecrackers marked the beginning of the Lunar New Year Celebration in Seattle s International District.

The Wing Luke Museum and The Chinatown International District Business Improvement Area sponsored a traditional Lion Dance to kick off the Year of the Horse.

Dozens of people gathered outside the museum to watch the colorful Lieu Quan Lion Dance Team. Two dancers were hidden beneath the huge Lion mask, dancing around the spectators and tossing out candy. People could feed the lions to ask for good luck for the coming year.

Saturday's festivities are only the beginning of a week of activities that culminate into the Lunar New Year bash in Hing Hay Park next week. The neighborhood springs into action with a Food Walk, pony rides, more lion and dragon dances, and even a children s costume parade contest. Go to http://www.cidbia.org/ or www.wingluke.org for more information

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