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January 31, 2014

Celebrate Chinese New Year at Bobo’s

GROVE CITY — The owner of a local Chinese restaurant is looking forward to celebrating Chinese New Year with his family and with his customers, who can join in the fun this Friday (Jan. 31) with a special five-course meal he has planned.

“It’s a major holiday,” Ken Kuang said of Chinese New Year, which is Jan. 31; 2014 is the Year of the Horse.

Kuang owns Bobo Rice Bowl, 138 S. Broad St., a restaurant in the heart of downtown Grove City that is in its second year and also serves Japanese, Thai and Asian fusion cuisine.

It’s named after his son, Bobo, 5; and he and his wife of six years, Meixing, also have a daughter, Michelle, 2.

“The new year is good for the kids,” he said of the excitement surrounding the holiday.

Chinese New Year is China’s most important holiday, and it is very similar to New Year’s Day - a time to make resolutions, set off fireworks, focus on family and friends and enjoy a special meal, said Kuang, who moved to the United States from China in the 1980s.

The five-course meal Bobo’s is offering for Chinese New Year will be buy-one get-one free and includes an appetizer, salad, soup, entree and dessert; there’s a long list of menu options, and the deal is good for a month.

Bobo’s served the same meal for Chinese New Year in 2013 and the restaurant had a decent turnout that included several local families who have children they adopted from China, Kuang said.

He hopes those families return this year and he appreciates the fact that they’re keeping the children’s Chinese culture alive.

In the midst of serving customers on Friday, Kuang will take the time to celebrate with his own family and call his relatives, who live in the Chicago area.

“Usually all the phones are jammed,” he joked of all the calls made and received on Chinese New Year.

Kuang, who has one brother and one sister, recalled some of his childhood memories of the holiday -- decorating the house, drinking tea and getting candy, new clothes and shoes, and red packets filled with money -- traditions that are still observed.

“It’s the biggest day in China,” he said, adding it also means time off work and school for many families.

According to the Associated Press, Chinese New Year is also known as Spring Festival and it represents the world’s largest seasonal migration of people as families reunite.

The Spring Festival transportation period lasts 40 days from Jan. 16.

Lian Weiliang, vice chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, China’s top economic planning agency, said they expect 200 million more journeys than in 2013.

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The Grove City Area United Way is kicking off a summer campaign that features locals who are examples of how to "Live United." The first, Greg Merkle, above, has been a volunteer firefighter with the Grove City Volunteer Fire Department for 14 years. "It all started when I was 16 years old living in Harrisville, and was a volunteer with their department for eight and a half years. After moving to Grove City, I missed being with a volunteer fire department, so I decided to join Grove City's Department. What I like the most of being part of the GCVFD is that I've been able to help the community. If you are looking for ways to help, serving here would be a great way to do it." Later this summer, readers will have a chance to submit stories and win prizes.

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