Chinese New Year 2012 Festivals in HoustonThe official Chinese New Year was January 23, but the celebrations will be this weekend and beyond. Here are some of the free Chinese New Year festivals in Houston this year:

2012 Lunar New Year Festival — Don’t miss the annual Lunar New Year celebration Saturday, January 28, at the Chinese Community Center.  The free fun features dragon and lion dances, food, cultural exhibitions, arts and crafts, Chinese School Theater performances, and Asian Heritage tour. Find the entertainment schedule online here. The festivities last from 10 am – 4 pm at 9800 Town Park.

Chinese New Year in the Heights — Wind Water Gallery sponsors its own Chinese New Year celebration at its Heights antique shop and gallery for the 10th year. The event begins Friday, January 27, 6 pm – 10 pm, with a lion dance and other live performances. The fun continues January 28 with live traditional Chinese music all day and another lion dance at 2 pm and Kung Fu exhibition. In honor of Year of the Dragon, the gallery will have 100 dragons on display made from all types of media. Wind Water Gallery is located at 548 W. 19th Street.

Texas Lunar Festival — The Alief community sponsors its own Texas Lunar Festival this weekend, January 28-29, to celebrate all cultures in Houston through vendors and entertainment. To accommodate the large crowds, the event is moving to Amity Park in Alief this year. This annual festival features food, entertainment, performances, demonstrations, children’s games, and more. Hours are 10 am – 5 pm Saturday and noon to 6 pm Sunday. Amity Park is located at 12509 Alief Clodine, 77082.

Lunar New Year Houston — The fun continues the following weekend, February 4-5, at the Lunar New Year Houston. The weekend features food, fun, dance, music, martial arts, plus one million lucky red firecrackers. The first 200 children will recieve a lucky red envelope with $5 value. Lunar New Year will be located at Viet Hoa Center 8388 W. Sam Houston Parkway at Beltway Plaza. Hours are noon to 7 pm both days.

photo credit: Dean Quach