This weekend, downtown Marysville is set to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit with the 143rd annual Bok Kai Parade and Festival. While the parade is still the starring feature, event organizers are making leaps and bounds to incorporate new and exciting activities meant to engage the entire family.
“Bok Kai weekend will be the biggest and most festive ever,” said Heather Young, member of the Marysville Chinese Community. “The Marysville community, the Marysville Chinese Community, and the Bok Kai Parade Committee have worked to organize a weekend filled with 12 events, including a 5K run, live music, food, and fireworks, to name a few. These inclusive events are free of charge and open to all. We hope to restore the annual Bok Kai Festival to its glory days and help local businesses in Marysville that are still trying to bounce back from the pandemic. It's a unique way to draw individuals together for a fun, historic, celebratory weekend."
The historic and ornate Bok Kai Parade started in the 1850s and is traditionally held on the weekend nearest to the second day of the second month of the Lunar Calendar. The central deity, Bok Eye, is the name of the Chinese water god who is said to protect Marysville from flooding. Known as California’s oldest, continuously held parade, this year’s Bok Kai event is projected to bring thousands of people into Marysville from all over California and the surrounding states.
“Cruising into the Weekend,” from 6-9 p.m
As a throw back to the “good old days,” organizers have planned a free permitted cruise through the streets of historic downtown Marysville on Friday. This event is free and open to the public with various stops at participating businesses and shops. A permit and route map will be provided at the Habitat for Humanity parking lot located at 202 D St. in Marysville. All rules of the road apply during the event.
Bok Kai 5K Walk/Run, at 8 a.m.
The Bok Kai 5K is an annual walk or run event hosted by Yuba-Sutter Training Zone in Marysville. Starting at the Silver Dollar Saloon at 330 First St. in Marysville, the course will run through Beckwourth Riverfront Park along the bike path. Anyone is welcome to participate, including teams, and pre-registration is strongly encouraged. On-site registration begins at 7:15 a.m. and the race starts at 8 a.m. All proceeds work to benefit the Marysville Chinese Community Inc. To register visit runsignup.com/Race/CA/Marysville/BoKKai5k2018.
143rd Bok Kai Parade, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Considered the highlight of the weekend, community members and tourists will gather along the downtown streets of Marysville to watch “Hong Wan Lung," the parade’s luck dragon, wind his way through historic Chinatown. Plenty of community floats will be on display and expect a barrage of firecrackers and candy. The parade route will begin at 6th and D Street and continue around the block through to 2nd and C Street.
Bok Kai Street Dance & Music Festival, from 1-7:30 p.m.
An outdoor stage will be set up in front of the Silver Dollar Saloon in Marysville for a free all ages music event. The line up will include a slew of popular local bands including headliner ONOFF. Food trucks, drink specials, and vendors will also be available. A short break will be taken at 7:30 p.m. while DJ Squarefield Massive sets up on the Dollar’s outdoor patio. Starting at 9 p.m., the festivities will move inside with a 21 and up “afterparty” until closing.
“The Jade Rabbit,” at 1:30 p.m.
Little Manila Rising will present a production of “The Jade Rabbit” performed by the children’s theater group Red Phoenix Rising. This free, all ages performance will take place at the Buddhist Church of Marysville located at 125 B St. in Marysville.
Blessing of the businesses, starting at 2 p.m.
Starting at 2 p.m., Lion Dancers will parade their way through the streets of downtown Marysville to bless the local businesses and extend good fortune into the new year. The sound of drums will be heard all throughout the neighborhood as the dancers shred cabbage and perform their annual rituals.
“Turning Red” showings at 2:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
Two free screenings of the Pixar movie "Turning Red" will be held at 2:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Buddhist Church of Marysville in Marysville. This film is particularly significant to the local community as the Bok Kai Temple in Marysville was used as the primary inspiration for the illustrations of the temple in the movie. Prior registration is required for this event and can be done by going online to tinyurl.com/2sz52ew3.
Lion Dance Performance and Firework Show, 7:30 p.m.
This year a special Lion Dance performance has been added to the festival that will take place at the corner of 1st and C Street in Marysville starting at 7:30 p.m. Trained performers from the White Crane Kung Fu School in San Francisco will debut acrobatic tricks against a background of lights and drum music. This spectacle will be followed by a professional firework display by Devastating Pyrotechnics. Organizers encourage attendees to bring a chair or blanket and possible ear protection.
Bok Kai Rib Cook Off and Car Show, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Six teams will battle it out for a chance to be named the best ribs in the first annual Bok Kai Rib Cook Off on Sunday starting at 8 a.m. at Habitat for Humanity Yuba Sutter in Marysville. Judging will take place at noon, meanwhile guests can enjoy a free downtown Bok Kai Car Show along D Street from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“Turning Red,” screening with a special guest at 1:30 p.m.
The third and final free screening of the Pixar movie “Turning Red” will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday at the Buddhist Church in Marysville. This showing will host a special question and answer session with the movie's production designer Rona Liu. Prior registration is required for this event.
Another highlight of the festival, Bok Kai Bomb Day celebrates the birthday of the Chinese water god Bok Eye. The firing of the bombs and the catching of the rings signals the end of the Bok Kai weekend celebration.
For more information on all of the events, locations, dates, and times during Bok Kai weekend, visit www.bokkaitemple.com.