Spring Festival 2007

Our last Spring Festival in China (for a while anyway).
Sticky rice meatball raw material.
Zhang family making meatballs.
Gary making the perfect meatball. Notice the oily hands, the rice would stick otherwise.
A few of the 200+ meatballs ready for frying.
Hanhan's mom is the master cook of the operation.
Golden brown, hot, and crisp! We ate about 50 as they came out of the pan.
Hanhan with the dumpling wrapper dough.
Hanhan and her dad making the dumplings. He rolls the wrapper, she stuffs and seals them.
Would you buy fireworks from this man? We would!
A view down the street, everyone is getting ready for the big day and fruit is a 'must have' item.
Hanhan and her dad start to look over the selection.
She likes this dangerous looking one. Sold!
Dried meat, including fish are a part of the festival. These folks are drying their fish behind the diesel exhaust...
One of my favorite dishes, 'Pepper Nose' ready for the pan.
Tea eggs and spicy beef are a part of any Spring Festival spread.
Our fireworks for tonight.
Pepper nose sizzling to perfection.
The master chef at work for the third day!
The finished dish, ready to enjoy.
Hanhan and her mom during our pre-dinner walk.
Wuxi tradition says you must cross 3 bridges on Spring Festival Eve. Here's Hanhan and her mom and dad on one of the three.
Hanhan's parents in a lovely scene.
Before the dinner, you must have firecrackers. Here, Hanhan's dad is rolling out 10,000 of them.
The fuse is lit, run, run away!
As you can see the firecrackers here have quite a kick.
The entire feast! There are 10 dishes and a pot of soup. All were very delicious!
The cooks welcome us to the Spring Festival Eve dinner! The hard work is through, now to celebrate.
Yum! With chopsticks clicking, we begin.
A toast to the cooks, to the New Year, and to happiness!
We all ate more than we should and there is still enough for another dinner. Just the way it should be.
A trip downtown to see what was going on for the first day of Spring Festival brought us to the traditional drummers.
In front of a department store, a group of golden pigs, it's the 'Year of the Pig' you know.
Heading towards a temple the walk is hung with lanterns and banners for the New Year.
Waiting on my TV appearance. See all the police to control the huge crowd?
This is a character with a 'Boy' and a 'Girl' face. He will give cakes out for good luck, health, and prosperity.
Just to show the mass of people crowded into this plaza for the cake giveaway.
I was picked to be on this telecast. CCTV Spring Festival coverage hits the entire nation, 1.4 billion will see me soon. The guy in the suit is my handler.
A TV announcer chatting with the Boy/Girl character. The baker is preparing cakes with his helpers. You should see the crowd being held back from the TV set.
There are 1000s of cakes on several tables waiting to be passed out, an old Wuxi tradition. There are 1000s of people, on the stairs, in windows, everywhere.
A real little boy and girl were the first to get their cakes on TV.
I was the only other person chosen to get a cake on TV and say "Happy Spring Festival" to all of China.
A statue of an erhu player in front of an old library in the square.
Hanhan and her parents in front of a floral display.
Hanhan showing real 'pig year' spirit!
Walking down the main street in Nan Chan Market to see what's up for Spring Festival.
A banner showing Spring Festival posters of different eras.
From the display of old Spring Festival cards. This one is headed by Mao and features heroes of the Revolution.
The entrance to Nan Chan Market area. The characters say "Golden Pig Will Give You Luck in the New Year"
A lion dance. See the pig-man carrying his wife on his back? She carries the ball the lions want to get.