Brandywine staff member brings Lunar New Year back to local community

group of people watching dragon dance in Media, PA

More than 1,000 people attended Media's first Lunar New Year celebration since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Credit: Hoi Michael Cheung

MEDIA, Pa. — Hoi Michael Cheung, systems administrator in Penn State Brandywine’s Office of Information Technology Services, brought Asian representation to Media to ring in the Year of the Dragon. He, along with Media community members, celebrated Lunar New Year on Feb. 10 with more than 1,000 people in the borough.

Media’s annual Lunar New Year celebration was previously hosted by a family-owned Chinese restaurant on State Street, but when it moved after the COVID-19 pandemic, the celebration also came to a standstill. In 2023, Cheung decided that he wanted to bring back this tradition with the help of people in his community.

Cheung’s motivation to revive the Lunar New Year celebration stemmed from residents of the borough asking him if the celebration was going to take place that year. After talking with the Media Borough manager, he got the idea of putting it together himself.

“I really wanted to show Asian representation in Media after the Lunar New Year celebration had dissolved during the pandemic,” he noted. “The borough was really helpful in putting the event together.”

Cheung contacted multiple organizations to help make the celebration possible. He got in touch with a kung fu academy that performed a traditional lion dance in previous Lunar New Year celebrations in Media and is located in North Carolina. After negotiating a price, Cheung began fundraising to get the studio up to Media.

Multiple businesses in the borough, including local stores and restaurants along State Street in the business district, offered to sponsor the event to help get the kung fu academy to travel to Media to perform on Lunar New Year Day.

“It was a lot of planning and a huge undertaking to get the event together,” Cheung said. “People helped me out a lot to put the event together for the past year. It was great seeing it all come together.”

After such a successful turnout in 2024, Cheung decided to have the event again next year. He’s looking forward to hosting a Lunar New Year event every year for the Media community.

“I’m really glad I was able to put this together. There was a huge turnout of over 1,000 people. I didn’t expect to see such a large crowd, but it was amazing to see everyone come and support the event,” Cheung said. “The borough has been great in helping me organize the event this year. They helped me hang all the banners, get in contact with the police department to close down the streets and make people aware of the event. It felt great getting to bring Asian representation and my culture to Media.”