Weekend: 116th Golden Dragon Parade

Bands, floats, and the dancing dragons welcome the new year, in Chinatown.

HAPPY NEW YEAR: Only a handful of local, lasting, still-on, still-drawing-thousands-of-revelers happenings that began in the 1800s are still rolling today, and The Golden Dragon Parade is very much among them. It's the 116th annual this year, the Year of the Ram (and the Goat and the Sheep) shall be auspiciously, heart-happily welcomed, and the parade'll dance (and be filled with floats and bands and costumes and tradition) on Saturday, Feb. 21. There's a festival, too, filled with magicians, fruit carving, acrobats, DJs, calligraphy, dough sculpting, food trucks, a beer garden, and beyond. The parade and fest? So free to see. Many, many people join, so go Metro for your arrival/departure.

87th ACADEMY AWARDS: You're best advised not to go anywhere near the bustling vicinity of Hollywood Boulevard between La Brea and Highland this weekend, unless, of course, you're an Oscar nominee. Then you absolutely should, and you probably should get a ride, too, from a friend (if you want your gown/tux to stay neat). The big asphalt-covering red carpet is out, and those giant shiny gold men standing sentinel, meaning movie's biggest night is nigh. Want to get dressy and watch the doings from a proper theater? The Million Dollar downtown is throwing a gussy-up bash, film fans.

U.S. COFFEE CHAMPIONSHIPS: How do your lattes turn out? More foam-lumpy than art-worthy? See the cup-wielding artists who create all of those coffee-toppers -- kittens, suns, hearts -- and the experts who know their beans. Really know: A bevy of caffeine-related competitions are set to steam up the Long Beach Arena. If you've never given two thoughts to the sip you enjoy thrice daily, best bone up, as a spectator, at one of the most major of mochaccino-half-caf-no-whip happenings on the calendar.

LA TRAVEL & ADVENTURE SHOW: When science one day breaks down the content of our daydreams, it may find that a full 65% involves hiking in a mountain meadow or wading into a clear lagoon. This mega expert-filled booth-y wonderland of travel information, tips, ideas, and inspiration can stoke those daydreams, and maybe even push them to a place where they become reality. Rick Steves, Samantha Brown, and other globe-trotting smarties'll be in the Long Beach Convention Center house. (NBC4 is a broadcast sponsor.) Saturday, Feb. 21 and Sunday, Feb. 22

A MODERN RETELLING OF "PERSEPHONE": Summoning spring via ideas and performance and the arts is a tradition as old as the arts and springtime, and this puppet- and video-centered presentation at the Getty Villa will do just that. The main character is Cora, "a contemporary Persephone whose annual return to the 'upper air' has been the catalyst for spring." Are you ready to bid winter adieu in a beautiful, contemplative setting? Be there on Friday, Feb. 20 through Sunday, Feb. 22.

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