Dancing, art and cultural activities highlight WMU China Festival

Contact: Korey Force
Photo of a woman dressed in a Chinese gown and headress dancing with several other dancers behind her with their backs to the photo.

This year's annual China Festival will focus on the culture of Xi'an, the capital of Shaanxi Province.

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Art aficionados, dance enthusiasts and yo-yo as well as ping-pong fans will be attending Western Michigan University's sixth annual China Festival from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, on campus in the Student Recreation Center.

The annual festival commemorates the tradition of the Chinese Moon Festival, which is celebrated in China in mid-autumn. This year's festival will focus on the culture of Xi'an, the capital of Shaanxi Province. WMU's event was established to promote Chinese studies programs on campus and to broaden the community's understanding about Chinese culture.

"The China Festival is a fun event that helps to break down prejudices that develop from the unknown" says Dr. Paulo Zagalo-Melo, associate provost of the Haenicke Institute for Global Education. "It gives the Kalamazoo and surrounding communities the opportunity to learn about and explore Chinese culture, contributing to making our children more globally minded and to fostering mutual understanding."

Admission to the event, parking and cultural activities are free, and for a nominal fee, attendees may sample traditional foods prepared by local restaurants.


The 2019 China Festival will include the following activities:

  • Art exhibitions
  • Chinese yo-yo performance and mini class
  • Dance and martial arts performances
  • Hands-on cultural activities
  • Informational display booths
  • Ping-pong tournament final and clinic

The festival is being organized by the Haenicke Institute in collaboration with the Chinese Association of Greater Kalamazoo and Kalamazoo Chinese Academy.

Campus co-sponsors include the Confucius Institute at WMU, Timothy Light Center for Chinese Studies, College of Arts and Sciences, Haworth College of Business, Department of World Languages and Literatures, College of Education and Human Development, and Association of Chinese Students and Scholars.


Interest in Chinese culture comes from a large community in Kalamazoo, leading to an increased availability of Chinese language and culture classes in the local area.

"The community interests in Chinese language and culture have been increasing steadily," says Dr. Ying Zeng, director of Asian initiatives for the Haenicke Institute. "China Festival gives the students, parents and the local community a perfect opportunity to discover and learn more about Chinese culture, both abroad and here in Michigan."

The Kalamazoo Chinese Academy is a nonprofit educational organization that offers Friday night classes at WMU to area students of all ages. The Confucius Institute at WMU is another local entity that offers language and culture classes on campus to all members of the community. In addition, the Confucius Institute sends volunteer instructors to teach Mandarin classes in high schools throughout the Kalamazoo Public Schools district.

For more information, visit the China Festival webpage. Questions may be directed to the Haenicke Institute for Global Education at wmu-international@wmich.edu or (269) 387-5890.

For more WMU news, arts and events, visit WMU News online.