SALT LAKE CITY — If having an extra long weekend wasn’t already enough to get you excited — thank you, Presidents Day — this weekend also marks the start of the Chinese New Year! But there's even more to celebrate, as the BYU Cougarettes, pop/dance group Walk the Moon and Utah Symphony will all be performing this weekend.
Chinese New Year Celebrations
• Go on a two-hour round trip Chinese New Year-themed train ride, with trivia, prizes, music, tea, and fortune cookies. Arriving early will also get you a view of an old west gunfight at the depot and fireworks at 6:30 p.m. before boarding at 6:45. Come hop aboard the train, Feb. 16, 7-9 p.m., Heber Valley Railroad Depot, 450 S. 600 West, Heber City, $15 (hebervalleyrr.org).
• Celebrate Chinese culture and the Year of the Dog with local artists and community members this weekend at the Viridian Event Center. Activities include origami, calligraphy, chess and lantern making, and those in attendance will even be treated to a dragon dance and tai chi show among other performances, Feb. 17, 1-4 p.m., 8030 S. 1825 West, West Jordan, free (slcolibrary.org/specialevents).
• In the Chinese zodiac, the dog is the symbol of loyalty and honesty, according to slcp.org. Ring in the Year of the Dog with storytime, family activities, a dragon parade around the library and a film screening, Feb. 17, 2-5 p.m., Anderson-Foothill Library, 1135 S. 2100 East, free (801-594-8611 or slcpl.org)
• The Chinese New Year is the largest and most important annual festival celebrated by Chinese around the world, according to utahchinese.org, and this year, Chinese New Year’s Day falls on Friday, Feb. 16. Organized by Utah Chinese communities and organizations, the Utah Chinese New Year Celebration will include Chinese folk songs and dances, traditional Chinese musical performances, kung fu, acrobatics and much more. Come celebrate this traditional holiday Feb. 17, 7-9 p.m., Cottonwood High School, 5717 S. 1300 East, Murray, free (utahchinese.org).
For the past few months, the Brigham Young University Cougarettes have been getting a lot of attentionfor their dynamic halftime performances, and this weekend, the 16-time college dance team national champions will take their show out of the sports arena and onto the Covey Center stage in Provo. Dance enthusiasts and BYU fans can check out the show, which will feature a variety of dance styles ranging from contemporary to hip-hop, Feb. 16-17, 7:30 p.m.; Feb. 17, 2 p.m., Covey Center for the Arts, 425 W. Center, Provo, $15 for general, $12 for students and seniors (801-852-7007 or coveycenter.org).
Kanab Balloons and Tunes Round Up
Although Albuquerque is the home of the famous International Balloon Fiesta, that doesn’t mean Utah can’t have its own hot air balloon celebration. Now in its fourth year, Kanab’s annual Balloons and Tunes Roundup, from Feb. 16-Feb. 18, will hold hot air balloon launches each morning after sunrise (weather permitting), releasing the bright balloons against the backdrop of the red rock Vermilion Cliffs located near Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, according to a news release.
A Battle of the Bands will also take place Friday and Saturday, featuring 12 bands in the competition, and vendors will sell food and crafts along Main Street throughout the weekend. Take part in the festival, Feb. 16-18, times vary, Former Coral Cliffs Golf Course, 755 Fairway Drive for Balloon Launch; North Main Street for Battle of the Bands, free (balloonsandtunesroundup.com).
"My Favorite Murder" live podcast
Fans of the “My Favorite Murder” podcast are in for a treat this weekend, as hosts/comedians Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark will bring their true crime comedy podcast, where they select and discuss a single murder or crime story, to Kingsbury Hall, Feb. 16, 8 p.m., U., $39.50 (tickets.utah.edu).
"High Noon" in concert
The music in the classic Western film “High Noon” garnered acclaim in its day, winning Academy Awards for best song and best score in 1953. The Utah Symphony will perform this award-winning score while Wil Kane’s (Gary Cooper) struggles to defend his town against a gang of revenge-seeking outlaws unfolds on the big screen at Abravanel Hall.
“(Audiences) know the movies, but it’s almost like hearing the movies in Technicolor,” Paul Meecham, Utah Symphony and Utah Opera CEO, told the Deseret News. “It’s attracting people to the symphony in a way that I don’t think any other new kind of offering has done in a very long time.”Comment on this story
Go West with the Utah Symphony Feb. 17, 7 p.m., Abravanel Hall, 123 W. South Temple, $15-$49 (801-355-2787 or artsaltlake.org).
Walk the Moon
The pop/dance-rock group Walk The Moon had its major breakthrough in 2014 with the hit "Shut Up and Dance." The catchy song is from the band's second major label studio album, "Talking is Hard," and reached No. 4 on the Billboard's Hot 100. Lead singer Nicholas Petricca was in Utah last year, performing as part of the LoveLoud Festival, and Walk The Moon will bring its energetic performance to Salt Lake City's The Complex on Feb. 19.