LunarFest 2018 rings in the Year of the Dog with 100-plus pups and an auspicious 888 lanterns

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      More than 100 pups, exactly 888 lanterns, and a showcase of auspicious, high-fashion looks from designers like Hugo Boss, DKNY, and Marc Cain: these are just some of the ways Oakridge Centre will be ringing in the Year of the Dog as part of Vancouver’s LunarFest celebrations.

      From Wednesday (February 7) to February 25, visitors at the shopping centre will be able to take in a Year of the Dog exhibition in the East Galleria that features 10 gold dog sculptures carved by local Taiwanese-Canadian artist Jessica Sung. Each dog will be depicted in a different position as a way to illustrate the subtle, non-verbal ways in which we read and communicate with our furry, four-legged friends.

      “It’s a way to express this really unique relationship, this really symbiotic relationship with dogs,” Eddy Kau, assistant general manager at the Asian-Canadian Special Events Association, organizers of LunarFest, says of the presentation by phone, “and how…there’s a lot of unspoken little nuances in there.”

      Oakridge Centre

      These dog models will be surrounded by mannequins dressed in the latest fashions from Oakridge retailers like Michael Kors, After Five, and Judith & Charles—one of the many traditions of Lunar New Year is to purchase new clothes for the year ahead—and other festivities that will offer guests the chance to score prizes like a trip for two to Singapore.

      During this time, an additional 100 dog figurines will be distributed to and displayed in the mall’s shops. After February 25, the collectibles will be available for purchase or “adoption” for $38 each, with all proceeds benefiting the BC SPCA. Oakridge has also pledged to donate $1 to the nonprofit for every dog-figurine image posted to Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter with the hashtag #dogsofoakridge.  

      LunarFest’s partnership with the shopping centre has seen models of sheep, monkeys, and roosters displayed in the past, but this is the first time that the initiative includes a charitable component. “There’s always been some element of having the figurines interacting with the retailers,” notes Kau.

      Oakridge Centre

      In addition to these sights, visitors will have the chance to decorate their own lanterns that will hang alongside a total of 888 others—an extremely lucky number in Chinese culture due to the Mandarin and Cantonese pronunciation of “eight” rhyming with the term denoting fortune—from 15-metre archways erected in the mall’s West Galleria. Inspired by the use and significance of lanterns in a number of Asian cultures during Lunar New Year, each light will be numbered so that guests have the chance to reserve one that has meaning to them.

      Participants are also invited to share their wishes for the New Year on the lamps. The family-friendly decorating session takes place on Family Day (February 12). “Suspending the lanterns this way, and combining everyone’s blessings for the year to come, sort of gathers up these hopes, prayers, and dreams,” says Kau, “and provides this pathway for visitors to walk through. We hope it brings good luck to everybody, basically.”

      Outside of Oakridge Centre, Vancouverites can enjoy LunarFest activities at the Vancouver Art Gallery’s revamped plaza, which will play host to a two weekend–long fete that includes arts-and-crafts booths, a selection of traditional New Year’s eats, and local vendors selling handmade soaps, jewellery, and more. In partnership with the Ballet Productions Canada Society, LunarFest will also be presenting the Coastal City Ballet’s Butterfly Lovers on February 16 at the Vancouver Playhouse.

      LunarFest takes place around the city from February 7 to 25. For details, click here.

      Follow Lucy Lau on Twitter @lucylau.

      Places to go nearby

      Approx. 15 minutes away