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Chinatown Plaza planning Year of the Snake celebration

It's that time of year again. This time, it involves snakes.

The Chinatown Plaza, 4255 Spring Mountain Road, plans to host its annual Chinese New Year Celebration and Asian Food Festival from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $3 for adults and $1 for children 6 to 12. Kids 5 or younger are free.

Half of the plaza's parking lot will be closed to accommodate more than 30 merchandise and food vendors featuring traditional Asian cuisine. Entertainment is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., including music, dancing, martial arts, acrobatics and more. There also will be arts and crafts, calligraphy, fortune telling and free drawings.

Event coordinator Tina Lee said she expects about 7,000 to attend the event. Attendance has grown each of the past 18 years, she said. Parking is limited in the plaza, but additional spaces will be available at Bank of America on the northeast corner of Spring Mountain and Wynn roads and at Wells Fargo on the southwest corner of Spring Mountain Road and Arville Street.

A first at this year's event will be a noodle-stretching demonstration, Lee said.

"Not many people are doing it right now," she said. "It's an ancient Chinese tradition."

Using a single piece of dough, the ends are stretched long and thin, folded in half, and the process is repeated to create noodles.

The year of the snake started Sunday and lasts until Jan. 30, 2014. In Chinese culture, the snake is a good one. It is the sixth of 12 signs in the Chinese zodiac. People born in those years - 1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989 and 2001 - "should have good luck," said Sue Fawn Chung, history professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Chung said these people are described as keen, cunning, intelligent and wise. They are also great mediators and good at doing business.

Chung encourages her students to attend the Chinatown event each year. It is always "a lot of fun," she said.

"It's a way for them to get a great insight into Chinese and Asian culture," she said.

This year's event is sponsored by the Gold Coast, the Rio, Wells Fargo and CenturyLink.

For more information, call 702-221-8448.

The Conservatory and Botanical Gardens at the Bellagio and the atrium at The Palazzo will have Chinese New Year exhibitions on display through February.

The Bellagio has performances of traditional music scheduled from 5 to 6 p.m. daily.

The Palazzo has a 98-foot-long animated blue snake, a 38-foot cherry tree with nearly 200,000 flowers and more.

Contact View education reporter Jeff Mosier at or 702-224-5524.