LOOK: Denver unleashes the Year of the Dragon

Check out these photos from the Far East Center.

Shaolin Hung Mei Kung Fu students run a dragon through Westwood's Far East Center during their annual Lunar New Year celebration. Feb. 10, 2024.

Shaolin Hung Mei Kung Fu students run a dragon through Westwood's Far East Center during their annual Lunar New Year celebration. Feb. 10, 2024.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
230210-KEVIN-BEATY-STAFF-PHOTO-KEVINJBEATY-06-sq

Hundreds of people ignored snow and freezing temperatures to celebrate Lunar New Year — the first time the holiday was officially recognized in Colorado — at Federal Boulevard’s Far East Center.

“This is nothing, right? We can do this,” said City Council member Jamie Torres, who presides over this edge of the city. “This is exactly the kind of thing we deliver in Denver. It is these rich, cultural, dynamic, community-investing events and festivals.”

Vincent Bepezzullo (left) and Gov. Jared Polis dance to keep warm during a Lunar New Year celebration at Westwood's Far East Center. Feb. 10, 2024.

Vincent Bepezzullo (left) and Gov. Jared Polis dance to keep warm during a Lunar New Year celebration at the Far East Center in Westwood. Feb. 10, 2024.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
City Council members Jamie Torres (from left) and Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez, Mayor Mike Johnston and Lunar New Year celebration organizer Mimi Luong do the "Gangham Style" dance to keep warm. Feb. 10, 2024.

City Council members Jamie Torres (from left) and Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez, Mayor Mike Johnston and Lunar New Year celebration organizer Mimi Luong do the "Gangnam Style" dance to keep warm. Feb. 10, 2024.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

The Far East Center, too, celebrated a special occasion this week, as the state’s historic commission added it to its list of historic places. Annie Levinsky recognized the Luong family, who opened the shopping center in the 1980s, for their decades on the block. Fawn Luong, the family’s matriarch, beamed at the crowd as she shared her journey from Vietnam to Denver. Her family was one of the first to arrive here as refugees fled America’s war in their country.

“It’s cold, but my heart is warm,” she said during the recognition.

Fawn Luong amps up the crowd during a Lunar New Year celebration at the Far East Center, her family's shopping hub on Federal Boulevard. Feb. 10, 2024.

Fawn Luong amps up the crowd during a Lunar New Year celebration at the Far East Center, her family's shopping hub on Federal Boulevard. Feb. 10, 2024.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Mimi Luong speaks after a recognition of a new state historic status for her family's Far East Center shopping area on Federal Boulevard. Feb. 10, 2024.

Mimi Luong speaks after a recognition of a new state historic status for her family's Far East Center shopping area on Federal Boulevard. Feb. 10, 2024.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

Lunar New Year is celebrated across the globe, primarily in East Asian countries. It’s still not a national holiday in the U.S., but there’s some appetite to change that.

Shaolin Hung Mei Kung Fu students run a dragon through Westwood's Far East Center during their annual Lunar New Year celebration. Feb. 10, 2024.

Shaolin Hung Mei Kung Fu students run a dragon through Westwood's Far East Center during their annual Lunar New Year celebration. Feb. 10, 2024.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
City Council member Serena Gozales-Gutierrez lights a long string of firecrackers during a Lunar New Year celebration at Westwood's Far East Center. Feb. 10, 2024.

City Council member Serena Gozales-Gutierrez lights a long string of firecrackers during a Lunar New Year celebration at Westwood's Far East Center. Feb. 10, 2024.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Lion dancers do their thing as firecrackers explode, during the annual Lunar New Year celebration at Westwood's Far East Center. Feb. 10, 2024.

Lion dancers do their thing as firecrackers explode, during the annual Lunar New Year celebration at Westwood's Far East Center. Feb. 10, 2024.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
City Council member Serena Gozales-Gutierrez (left) and Mayor Mike Johnston cheer as firecrackers explode during the Far East Center's annual Lunar New Year celebration. Feb. 10, 2024.

City Council member Serena Gozales-Gutierrez (left) and Mayor Mike Johnston cheer as firecrackers explode during the Far East Center's annual Lunar New Year celebration. Feb. 10, 2024.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Thanh Luong helps some of the many customers flooding his family's Truong An Gifts during the annual Lunar New Year celebration at Westwood's Far East Center. Feb. 10, 2024.

Thanh Luong helps some of the many customers flooding his family's Truong An Gifts during the annual Lunar New Year celebration at Westwood's Far East Center. Feb. 10, 2024.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Chickens roast under Viet's Restaurant's tent at the Far East Center's annual Lunar New Year celebration. Feb. 10, 2024.

Chickens roast under Viet's Restaurant's tent at the Far East Center's annual Lunar New Year celebration. Feb. 10, 2024.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Shaolin Hung Mei Kung Fu students run a dragon through Westwood's Far East Center during their annual Lunar New Year celebration. Feb. 10, 2024.

Shaolin Hung Mei Kung Fu students run a dragon through Westwood's Far East Center during their annual Lunar New Year celebration. Feb. 10, 2024.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

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