CHICAGO EXPANDS ITS CITYWIDE CHINESE NEW YEAR CELEBRATION WITH NEW CULTURAL PROGRAMMING, TOUR PACKAGES AND RETAIL PARTNERSHIPS

The Second Annual Event Celebrating the Year of the Sheep Runs February 15 - March 1, 2015

For Immediate Release:
January 28, 2015

Contact:
Kara Carmichael
(312) 567-8587
kcarmichael@choosechicago.com

Media:
Click here to download Chinese New Year images


The City of Chicago's second annual Chinese New Year celebration returns Sunday, February 15- Sunday, March 1, 2015 with two-weeks of citywide cultural programming to honor the Year of the Sheep. This year offers new cultural programming, including guest artists from China, along with new events created by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra360 ChicagoOdyssey Cruises and The Field Museum. Returning Chinese New Year partners and activities, include The Art Institute of ChicagoChicago Loop Alliance State Street activation, Lunar New Year parades in Chinatown and Uptown, and a Lantern Festival at Navy Pier.

"Chicago's Chinese New Year celebration is an opportunity to promote tourism while bringing together Chicagoans from around the city to celebrate the important cultural, economic, and artistic contributions of our Chinese residents every day," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. "This year's festival will build on the success of last year's celebration. My goal is for Chicago to have the largest Chinese New Year celebration in North America and to make it an important part of our efforts to promote tourism and create jobs throughout Chicago."

Celebrations will kick-off with the first-ever Chinese New Year concert at the Symphony Center, Sounds of China: A Chinese New Year Celebration, on Sunday, February 15 at 3:00PM. Soloists from the world-renowned National Chinese Traditional Orchestra will join the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for an unforgettable performance. Presented in collaboration with Chicago's Chinese Fine Arts Society, the concert features traditional and celebratory works for the Chinese New Year, along with works by Grammy Award-winning Chinese composer, instrumentalist and music producer Jiuyue Ma (Gala show - 2008 Beijing Olympics, China's Third Poem Festival 2011).

Also new this year is a performance by the Shaanxi Folk Arts Group at the Chicago Cultural Center on Thursday, February 19 at Noon and the Chicago Botanic Garden on Saturday, February 21 at 11:00AM and 1:00PM . The Shaanxi Folk Arts Group will travel to Chicago from China's Shaanxi Province's capital city Xi'an-considered to be the "cradle of Chinese culture," the start of the Silk Road, and the origin of shadow puppetry. These professional puppet and shadow puppet performers will use ancient shadow puppetry techniques to bring classic Chinese tales to life based on Chinese folklore.

"We are thrilled to welcome such talented artists from the National Chinese Traditional Orchestra and the Shaanxi Folk Arts Group to Chicago," said Don Welsh, President and CEO of Choose Chicago. "The city's commitment to hosting an exciting and culturally-rich Chinese New Year has made Chicago an attractive destination for Chinese tourists. This is the first time we've worked with tour operators in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou to sell Chicago packages focused on Chinese New Year, and we're pleased to share that the packages are sold out. The festival programming, along with incredible offerings from our hotel and shopping partners, makes Chicago a great city to kick-off a Chinese New Year holiday in the U.S."

As Choose Chicago continues to invest in the Chinese market, expanding the Chinese New Year celebration is a core goal for the organization. This year, Choose Chicago secured hotel partnerships with The Peninsula ChicagoPark Hyatt ChicagoThe Langham Chicago HotelHyatt Regency ChicagoHyatt McCormick Place and Radisson Hotel Chicago O'Hare to offer a variety of rates and amenities featuring traditional Chinese breakfast, special Chinese New Year welcome gifts, tea service and spa packages.

This year's celebration features new retail partners. Bloomingdales will present feature designer products, tea tastings, traditional Chinese red envelopes and Chinese lion dancers; Fashion Outlets of Chicago will offer discounts and VIP lounge access with complimentary hot tea and fortune cookies; Macy's on State Street will feature a window display celebrating the Year of the Sheep along with discounts, exclusive gift with purchase and limited-edition merchandise; and The Shops at Northbridge will offer a complimentary gift to out-of-town visitors, in addition to discounts from over 40 retailers.

"Chicago Chinese New Year aims to increase visitation and awareness of our cultural assets and further enhance the cultural collaboration between Chicago and China," said Melissa Cherry, Choose Chicago's Vice President of Cultural Tourism & Neighborhoods. "We have one of the largest Chinatowns in North America. We're proud to bring the community together to provide our guests with an authentic Chinese New Year experience. We want this celebration to be an annual holiday tradition for families in China and in the U.S. The new partnerships with our cultural partners, hotels and retailers will only further enhance the experience and make Chicago a destination for this time-honored tradition."

In an effort to grow awareness regionally, Choose Chicago is promoting Chicago Chinese New Year as part of its winter regional digital campaign. The eight-week campaign launched on January 12 in Detroit, Grand Rapids, Louisville, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, and the Chicagoland area. The campaign also targets Midwest markets with large Chinese student communities, including Minneapolis, Champaign, St. Louis, Athens, Iowa City, Ann Arbor, Lawrence, Bloomington, West Lafayette, Evanston and Madison.

For more information on Chicago Chinese New Year, including event details and special offers, please visit ChooseChicago.com/chinesenewyear.

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