By Casey Geier

Contributing Writer

Santa Ynez Valley Charter School celebrated Chinese New Year on Feb. 1 with plenty of pigs for kids to interact with.

The Chinese Year of the Pig began Feb. 5, but the school celebrated early.

Two dozen Chinese students from Dunn High School provided craft activities, food and musical performances for students in all grades. With lantern making and calligraphy, the students had help from instructors from the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.

The Dunn students also performed a Dragon Dance for students to watch. The dance is a traditional performance in which a line of people manipulate a model dragon with sticks held up in the air.

 “It’s fun to learn about new things every year. I really liked making the art and the food,” said one fifth-grader.

The day included two piglets brought by Randy Jones of the Pork Palace, and kids were able to pet and feed them. There was also a Vietnamese potbelly pig, courtesy of Susan Parkinson at Lil’ Orphan Hammies. The pig’s name is Hammond, and he posed with kids and even the school’s Executive Director John Dewey.

The celebration was initiated and coordinated by parents Vicky and Bob Hyland, who wanted their daughter, Danielle, and other students to learn about her cultural heritage.