Okay... The longest of our three annual new year celebrations (and the one that lasts the longest) has finally come to a successful close. Last year, the big FCC-MD event was snowed out; this year, it was our private MIT group's lion dance luncheon.... but we still slipped a bunch of good Year Of The Hooved Mammal That Goes Baah celebratory events in between the awful weather events and awful health events, nonetheless.
We had a venue change this year. The last two banquets were held in a very good restaurant in Rockville that simply did not have the space needed for the usual crowds, so this year the banquet moved back to the New Fortune Restaurant  in Gaithersburg where the event had originally been held each year for a long time. (The venue change two years ago was due to a bit of a tiff they had with the local health department, but all is now copacetic.)
Ironically, the way the restaurant floor was divided up with screens left us all squeezed very tightly together, and as we quickly discovered, the table positions had to be adjusted by expert teams of restaurant staff because the tabletops were held in place by gravity alone, with nary a screw, peg or drop of glue to attach them to the table legs... which made moving the already-set tables quite the adventure (although no loud "events" occurred). There were also some unexpected last-minute changes in table assignments that left the Pipsqueak and her grownups on the opposite side of the room from the family we'd planned on sitting with and with a worse view of the performance area... but as soon as things got rolling, we all settled into our seats and decided to enjoy things as much as we could (which turned out to be quite a bit).
There was a family of three sitting with us whom we'd never met before, and they turned out to be excellent table partners with fun stories & puns to share. Add in the seemingly endless massive plates of food (much of which ended up going home in white foam boxes) and all the performances & contests on the schedule, and you've got yourself a pretty good new year celebration.
I don't have a lot of photos to share -- AJ still doesn't like me posting easily-identified current pics of Miri online and I shot a lot of video instead of stills, but I have a few images to post...
|Miri, in costume for her performance, waited impatiently to feed the lions.|
|The two "adult" lions (I only had video of the two "baby" lions and the dancers who accompanied them).|
|Just before the start of the ribbon dance; Miri's partner was unable to attend, but the dance went very well -- and there were no wardrobe malfunctions this time!|
So, on that note... Gong shi fa cai to one and all and here's wishing everyone a very happy, healthy and prosperous Year of the Hooved Mammal that Goes Baah!
 The New Fortune is well-known in the area for its weekend Dim Sum menu... but I've always been most tickled by the fact that the big "New Fortune" sign is right next to an equally big "HR Block" sign... How appropriate is that mix of business names?!?