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Bok Kai: All in the family
Saturday March 9
10 a.m. — Bok Kai Story and Mask Workshop at Yuba County Library, 303 Second St., Marysville. Free. Call 742-6508.
Friday March 15
5 to 7 p.m. — Reception for 2013 Bok Kai Exhibit: Year of the Snake at the Yuba-Sutter Regional Arts Council, 624 E St., Marysville. The exhibit is open through March 15. Call 742-2787.
Saturday March 16
9 a.m. — 5K run/walk, registration at 8:15 a.m., starting at First and D streets, Marysville. The entry fees are $10 and $20 on the day of the event. Call 300-7352.
9 a.m. — Crafters area opens on Second Street, between D and C streets.
10 a.m. — Children's craft area opens at Yuba County Library parking lot, Second and C streets. Free.
Parade — 11 a.m. on D Street starting at Sixth Street in Marysville, turns east on First Street, then north on C Street, ending at Third Street.
The parade is followed by a lion dance in front of the Hop Sing Building.
Sunday, March 17
4 p.m. — Bomb Day at First and C streets.
Family tradition — this time in the Year of the Black Water Snake — runs deep for two organizers of the 133rd Bok Kai Festival set for downtown Marysville in two weeks.
Shaunee Burrows-Kang is the festival's co-chair, and Candice Young Fresquez is the sponsorship chair and liaison with the Chinese community. Both women have been involved with the festival since childhood.
Burrows-Kang's mother, Lee Burrows, was a cornerstone for arts development in the area and was a key person for the Bok Kai Festival for years. She died in 2002.
"I've helped put the dragon together since I was 8 or 9 years old," Kang said. "I always worked behind the scenes with the arts council."
Fresquez was the festival's Bok Kai hostess in 2003, and her father, John Young, lights off the bombs each year for Bomb Day. Her aunt was a hostess in the late '70s, and her cousin, Heather Young, was the hostess in 2007 and is the festival's emcee this year.
"I enjoyed it (being the hostess). It was fun to fulfill something that the community expected me to do," Fresquez said.
The festival still has participants from the local Chinese community, Fresquez said, noting that many descendants have moved away for school or jobs and that the group "is getting scarce."
"For the community here, it's hard that the younger generation doesn't want to stay," she said.
There are close to 20 vendors for this year's Bok Kai Festival on March 16-17, and that number is growing.
However, sponsorships are down for 2013. The festival's largest sponsor, Colusa Casino Resort, dropped out, telling organizers they were putting money elsewhere.
"It's been hard finding businesses willing to sponsor or donate," Candice Young Fresquez said.
Because of lack of funding this year, organizers were unable to print the calendar honoring Professor James Liu, who created art for the festival posters.
"People in the community stepped up and raised $1,000, but it was not enough," Shaunee Burrows-Kang said.
Organizers expected to print about 1,000 posters, which would have been sold for $15 apiece.
Sponsorships are still available, and the deadline for parade applications has been extended through Tuesday.
- Laura van der Meer
Putting together Fook Lung
On Friday morning, crates arrived at the lair where Hong Wan Lung, the parade's dragon, awaited to be assembled for its appearance in the Bok Kai Festival parade on March 16 in downtown Marysville.
The dragon's nickname is Fook Lung, meaning "Lucky Dragon." The 175-foot dragon requires 25 people working hard underneath to make it come alive.
"Everyone knows you don't put a dragon head on the ground, it's bad luck," Shaunee Burrows-Kang said, sitting just a few feet away from where the dragon's head was propped up on a stand.
Burrows-Kang and Candice Young Fresquez look forward to the firecrackers, lion dancers and the finale, where Fook Lung coils around the pearl he pursues through the streets.
"It signifies that the dragon eats the pearl ... if and when he gets it, it brings eternal life and longevity," Fresquez said.
Leung's White Crane Kung Fu Association, lion dancers from San Francisco who represent the Hop Sing Society, will perform afterward in front of the society's building at 113 C Street.
- Laura van der Meer
Bok Kai hostess carries on tradition in Marysville
Rani Lim-Purewal, hostess of the 133rd Bok Kai Festival, has always looked up the Bok Kai hostesses and couldn't wait to become part of the century-old tradition.
"My mother was the Bok Kai hostess about 30 years ago," Lim-Purewal explained. "It (the festival) has just always been a big part of our lives."
The 17-year-old Natomas High School senior said she has attended the festival in Marysville every year since she was a baby.
"I've wanted to do it since I was a little girl," she said. "I'm the third generation in my family to be the hostess, I've always wanted to carry the tradition on."
The daughter of Charanjit Purewal and Kathleen Lim, Lim-Purewal enjoys digital photography and English literature, particularly the work of Arthur Miller and William Shakespeare's "King Lear." On the stage, she once played the Dormouse in "Alice in Wonderland."
After high school, she plans to attend American River College in Sacramento for two years before transferring to a four-year university, most likely California State University in Sacramento. She plans to study criminal justice.
"I want to be the one that cracks the case," she said. "I want to help people and help them get justice."
She also acknowledges at least part of her love of the law comes from popular crime-fighting television shows.
"I watch "Law & Order" probably 50 times a week," Lim-Purewal said with a laugh.
Lim-Purewal is excited for her opportunity as this year's Bok Kai hostess.
"I'm really looking forward to walking around, meeting people and just making sure everyone is having a good time and is happy," she said. "And I hear I get to ride in a Corvette."
— Rob Parsons