Most years dear daughter and I would go to the Lunar New Year Celebration in Tacoma’s International District. I remember firecrackers going off near her stroller and her crying, so it has been a long tradition. But the celebration hasn’t happened for the past five years, until today. At 10 am sharp the firecrackers went off and the festivities began. Mayor Strickland said a few words and a few others (I couldn’t tell who since I was still walking up). There was a very short, but great parade and then the crowd followed the lion dancers to the Lincoln Pharmacy on the corner of South 38th and South Thompson . A string of firecrackers was lite, the lions danced and musicians played. Then we all moved on to the next business.
I noticed that at some of the businesses there was a head of lettuce hanging for the lions to “eat”. Wikipedia tells me that this is the traditional custom of “cai qing“, “plucking the greens”. The lion dance is believed to bring good luck and fortune to the business.
It was great to see the crowds in attendance and the festive atmosphere. The Lincoln District is undergoing a period of revival with big changes in the near future. There were several interesting new businesses that I’m sure to visit, now that I know about them!
The building has a varied history. It was built in 1893 as Tacoma’s City Hall (E.A. Hatherton, Architect) and the original jail cells are still located in the building’s basement. In 1959, City of Tacoma offices moved and the building was vacant until 1969. In the 1970s the building was renovated into shops and restaurants and in 1974 it was placed on the historic register. In the 1980s it was converted into professional offices. I even worked there for a couple of years and enjoyed a water view! In 2005 there was talk of converting the property into condominiums. Thanksgiving week 2010 there was a flood brought on by a broken sprinkler pipe. The property is vacant.
We got out of town for a day in Port Townsend. Of course, Port Townsend is a fully functional city with grocery stores, gas stations and medical offices, but it is their historic district that is exceptional. Per MyNorthwest.com (see below) “Port Townsend is cited as one of only three National Victorian Seaports on the National Register of Historic Places (along with Galveston and Cape May, NJ) and is the only one on the West Coast”. Considering its excellent harbor, Port Townsend was going to be the northwest terminus of the railroad lines. In anticipation of the rail coming, many lovely Victorian residences and commercial buildings were constructed. But then the depression arrived and the rail was not extended and the town languished. Now it is a destination spot, combining the natural beauty of the bay and nearby Olympic Mountains with the appeal of the historic buildings. There is an abundance of interesting stores and restaurant. I’m sure that later I will make individual places my new place of the day, but today it is the entire downtown historic district.