Small bites: Celebrating the Year of the Rooster

ENCOURAGING CULTURE: In 2015, the Lanzhou Stars Dancing Ensemble performed for Folkmoot. A similar performance will be part of Folkmoot’s Chinese New Year celebration this week. Photo by Patrick Parton

The Chinese New Year — also know as the Lunar New Year or Spring Festival — occurs each year between Jan. 21 and Feb. 20. Its exact date is determined by the lunar calendar and is marked by the second full moon following the winter solstice. On Saturday, Jan. 28, festivities will be held around the globe to celebrate the commencement of 2017 — the Year of the Rooster.

The Waynesville-based nonprofit Folkmoot will be among those ringing in the Chinese New Year. The organization, in partnership with Western Carolina University’s Office of International Programs and Services, will host an affordable, family-oriented evening of Chinese food, arts and activities on Saturday, Jan. 28. Advance tickets are $8 for kids, $10 for adults and $35 for families of four or more. Ticket prices at the door are $10 for kids, $12 for adults and $40 for families.

Clyde-based restaurant Da Asian Kitchen will prepare the menu, which will include egg rolls, fried rice, white rice, vegetable and chicken stir fries, spring rolls, noodles and dessert. “We’re also going to have dumplings that the International Department will bring,” says Elizabeth Burson, a member of programming and group relations at Folkmoot. Burson notes that in Chinese tradition, serving dumplings during a New Year’s celebration is considered good luck.

In addition to providing dumplings, members of Western Carolina University’s Chinese faculty will perform alongside some of the school’s Chinese exchange students. “They plan to perform ‘Jasmine Flower.’ … This song dates back to the 18th century and has acquired many regional variations,” says Burson.

The event will also include a discussion on Chinese lanterns and a workshop on how to make them, as well as finger painting and Chinese character writing activities.

Burson points out the importance of this event as part of Folkmoot’s ongoing commitment to bring cultural diversity to WNC. “The core of everyone’s being is our culture,” she says. “It’s what connects us to our own people as well as the world. That’s what Folkmoot strives to do. No matter what differences we have, there’s always at least one similarity you can find that makes us alike and can bring us together and create peace and understanding.”

The Chinese New Year celebration runs 6-8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28, at the Folkmoot Friendship Center, 112 Virginia Ave., Paynesville. For tickets, visit

Farm Dreams Workshop

The Organic Growers School will host its next Farm Dreams workshop on Saturday, Feb. 4, at Lenoir-Rhyne University’s Asheville campus. The entry-level, five-hour session is intended for those interested in starting their own farm. The class will look at sustainable farming careers in WNC, offer farming skills and resources, provide an educational plan for farming, connect participants with regional training opportunities, assist in goal setting, and provide insight and advice from experienced WNC farmers. The event will include a potluck lunch. Participants are asked to bring a dish to share.

Farm Dreams Workshop runs 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, at Lenoir-Rhyne University, 36 Montford Ave., Room 314. Tickets are $55. For details and tickets, visit

New Asheville Independent Restaurants board members

“Our goal is to support independent, local restaurants as Asheville continues to gain a reputation as a national culinary destination,” says Asheville Independent Restaurants’ President Kevin Westmoreland in a recent press release. Along with this mission statement, the organization announced the newest members of its board of directors: Kate Bannasch of Copper Crown, Rick Guthy of Wicked Weed, Charlie Hodge of Sovereign Remedies and Ole Shakey’s, Bryan McIntosh of The Biltmore Co. and Kim Murray of Westmoreland and Scully.

For more information about AIR, visit or contact the AIR office at

Medea’s REAL Food Cafe closes

After two and half years, Medea’s REAL Food Cafe in South Asheville has closed. The eatery and coffee shop specialized in pressed juices, fermented kvass and bone broths. In a letter to its customers, owner Medea Galligan offered gratitude and encouragement to her former patrons: “[I] can only hope that … I was able to show you that real food can be both delicious and nourishing.” Galligan, who has 20 years’ experience as a health coach, will continue to work in the community through her personalized health coaching programs. She offers a free initial consultation for those who complete a health history on her website, She is also offering a 10 percent discount for those who sign up for her health coaching program before Feb. 1.

To learn more about Galligan’s health coaching programs visit

Publix at Weaverville Plaza

The Publix supermarket at Weaverville Plaza, 165 Weaver Blvd., will celebrate its grand opening on Wednesday, Feb. 1. The ribbon will be cut at 7 a.m.


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About Thomas Calder
Thomas Calder received his MFA in Fiction from the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program. His writing has appeared in Gulf Coast, the Miracle Monocle, Juked and elsewhere. His debut novel, The Wind Under the Door, is now available.

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