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Top Billing: Celebrations abound around Annapolis

It’s the dog days of winter, but the Lunar New Year begins today. It’s the Year of the Dog.

The celebrations have already begun for what is, for many Asian cultures, the Big Holiday that stretches to March 2.

Experience the Lunar New Year at the free celebration 3 p.m. Feb. 24 at the Jing Ying Institute of Kung Fu & Tai Chi, 1195 Baltimore Annapolis Blvd. #6, in Arnold. There you can enjoy food, entertainment, “Year of the Dog” crafts, EcoAdventures animals and more. Learn about Lunar New Year traditions and sample the traditional treats.

Arrive by 3:15 p.m. if you’d like to watch the Lion Dance. It will be followed by demonstrations of Tai Chi, Kung Fu forms and weapons. The Chinese Lion Dance is often confused with the Dragon Dance. Both are a part of Chinese New Year and other traditional Chinese festivities. The Chinese Lion Dance is performed by two people, wearing a Lion Dance costume, and the Dragon Dance is performed by many more people. Bring some cash to "feed" the lion during its ceremonial dance. Jing Ying will provide the hong bao -- a red envelope -- in which to place the money. This is supposed to bring good luck to the giver, and the more given, the better the luck. The money will be donated to charity.

EcoAdventures is bringing some of its animals from its indoor rain forest. The animals will be on the second floor of Jing Ying. Visit them and also enjoy the activities and demonstrations on the main floor.

During the family-friendly event, a silent auction will be taking place with proceeds going to The Bernie House.

For more information visit jingying.org or call 410-431-5200.

Part of the observances during Black History Month, the Banneker-Douglass Museum is exhibiting Bent But Not Broken, the works of Maryland artist Ulysses Marshall. He re-imagines Frederick Douglass’ spirit through mixed-media compositions and colorful collages, depicting the triumphs, pain and hope of Douglass’ life and the African-American experience. The exhibit is on view from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays now through May 19. There will be an opening reception 3 p.m.to 5 p.m. Saturday. It is free and open to the public at the Banneker-Douglass Museum, 84 Franklin St., Annapolis. For information, visit bdmuseum.maryland.gov.

The MRE or Maritime Republic of Eastport is hosting the annual Ambassadors (Other) Ball & Mardi Gras Party, the MRE’s signature event of its social season. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Eastport and Annapolis charities.

The doors open at 7p.m. Saturday at the Eastport Democratic Club, 525 State Street, Eastport.

Tickets are $25 per person and include a buffet dinner, beer, sodas, and water. Wine and liquor area available for purchase. There will be live music by Little Red & The Renegades along with a silent auction. Don't get left out in the cold, get your tickets today for the hottest party in Eastport.

Purchase the tickets online at themre.org or at the door.

Another festival will certainly warm up the chilly winter weather. Celebrate Maryland beer and all things Maryland at FeBREWary, the Maryland Chili and Beer Festival, 1 to 5 p.m. Feb. 24 at the La Fontaine Bleue, 7514 Ritchie Highway, Glen Burnie. It is presented by La Fontaine Bleue, The Made Marketplace, and Cluster and Vine.

This 21 and older indoor event will feature more than a dozen Maryland breweries and local restaurants showing off their best chili recipes. In addition to great beer and chili, the festival will have wine and cocktails available for purchase, live music, and a variety of other food and shopping featuring all local Maryland Made vendors.

Admission is $25 in advance, or $30 at the door. Admission includes a signature event cup, and all you care to sample tastings from participating breweries; the $10 advance admission -- $15 at the door – is a non-sampling admission which includes entrance into the event and allows for the purchase of wine and beer.

La Fontaine Bleue is located at 7514 Ritchie Highway, Glen Burnie. For tickets or information, call 410-760-4115.

Spring – and Spring house cleaning and redecorating -- is just around the corner. The Annapolis Home and Garden Expo opens from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Feb. 24, and from noon to 5 p.m. Feb. 25 at The Byzantium, 2747 Riva Road, Annapolis.

The Expo offers guests an opportunity to discover new products for their home improvements, enhancements and services in one great location. The event features over 80 companies showcasing kitchens, baths, decking, counter tops, sun rooms, exterior products, landscape design and hardscape, closet organization, design and build, whole house remodeling, and more. Plus, there will be some celebrities and selfie-time at the show. Meet HGTV's Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri, The Cousins!

Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for retired and active military, and children under 14 free. Advance tickets are on sale at whatsuptix.com .

The annual Toy Train Show and Swap Meet is rolling down the tracks to the Annapolis Elks Club, 2517 Solomons Island Road, Edgewater, near Annapolis Harbor Center. The doors open at 10 a.m. Feb. 25.

The show, hosted by the WB&A, will feature lots of toy train models, along with how-to’s on operating trains, doing repairs – or connecting with skilled repair people. There will be trains, train parts and lots of items to see and buy. Admission is $5 for adults. Military, uniformed members of the community and children under 12 are admitted free. For information, call 443-618-6866.

Compiled by Wendi Winters. Got an event you want to share? Enter it at events/capitalgazette.com/events/new.

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