Oxford Celebrates 4th Annual Chinese Festival

Miami University Chinese Festival 2017
Miami University Chinese Festival 2017 Photo: Kristin Magyari

By Miami University Confucius Institute

On Friday, September 22nd the Confucius Institute at Miami University (CIMU) sponsored its 4th annual Chinese Festival in celebration of Global Confucius Institute Day and the 10-year anniversary of CIMU. The festivities began at Cook Field, featuring martial arts and kite flying competitions for local schoolchildren and community members, followed by activities and performances in Uptown Park.

martial artsStarting at 2pm, students from local schools gathered at Cook Field to practice and perform martial arts. CIMU instructor Zhibin Jin joined local martial arts instructors Jerome Cook and Dennis Cook in assisting the students with their kung fu techniques. The students then showcased their skills in a competition.

Kite Competition Results

  • 1st Place | Kettering Fairmont High School

  • 2nd Place | William Mason High School

  • 3rd Place | Ross High School

Following the martial arts segment, students flooded into the field to fly kites that they decorated. Students from Miami University and local community members also gathered to enjoy the activities and watch the students fly their beautiful kites. Students later submitted their kites for a competition. Each kite was evaluated based on artistic skill and representation of this year’s theme, “Chinese Zodiac and Chinese Characters.” A panel of judges determined the winners.

kite competitionIndividual Awards

  • 1st Place | Jennifer Hong, William Mason High School
2nd Place | Angelia Patron, Kettering Fairmont High School
3rd Place | Grace Watkins, William Mason High School

Group Awards

  • 1st Place | Sycamore High School
  • 2nd Place | William Mason High School
  • 3rd Place | Oak Hills HS, Rapid Run Middle School

learning ChineseThe second part of the festival took place uptown. From 5:30-7pm, students and community members enjoyed cultural booths and games, including calligraphy, lantern making, chopstick etiquette, face painting, Go (Chinese chess), Han costumes, opera mask painting, panda mask making, and more. Children were given “passports” in which they collected stamps from each booth, turning them in at the end of the event for prizes. Volunteers passed out boxes of Chinese food.

Dr. Renee Crawford (Miami University ambassador), Kate Rousmaniere (Oxford Mayor), and Chen Zhao (CIMU Director) gave speeches to commemorate the event and thank all who participated. Student hosts Taylor Freibert and Vincenzo Bianco then took the stage to announce winners of the martial arts and kite painting competitions, as well as raffle winners.

The final part of the evening featured a variety of cultural and musical performances, which took place on the Uptown Park stage. These performances showcased a variety of talents and skills and brought diverse groups into the limelight: local school students, Taiwanese Beijing Opera performers, and CIMU art clubs.

chopsticksThe festival attracted over 350 students from 10 local schools. Students from Mason High School and Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy (CHCA) impressed the audience with yoyos and classical dance performances. This was a wonderful opportunity for local schools engage in Chinese culture and support culture-sharing initiatives.

The evening also included some special guests: students from the National Taiwan College of Performing Arts, who entertained the audience with two Beijing Opera performances. The first movement was a story of a young woman seeking to prove her martial arts ability, and the second movement featured two men fighting each other in complete darkness, which requires a high degree of martial arts skill. Each performer wore an elaborate, beautiful costume and moved with precision and grace.

CIMU’s clubs concluded the night’s festivities with a series of performances. The Classical Dance Club performed a Red Flower dance in the Xinjiang style, and the Dyzzee Stepperz performed an energetic contemporary dance routine. This was followed by a remarkable 4-part martial arts performance, featuring CIMU martial arts instructor Zhibin Jin, the lion dance club, and kung fu master Jerome Cook. Finally, the Han Costume Club displayed elegant costumes and rituals from the Han Dynasty, honoring ancient Chinese culture.

CIMU would like to thank the many volunteers who gave their time and dedicated effort to make this event a tremendous success. This event is energetically and attentively organized each year in order to celebrate the many beautiful components of Chinese culture and to foster community interest in culture-sharing activities. We hope to see you next year!