This weekend the Taoist Tai Chi Society of the USA held not one but two Grand Openings in the beautiful state of Florida.
A new home.
The St. Petersburg Center
celebrated its 20th Anniversary and Grand Opening of its newly renovated center Friday, May 16th at 6:30 pm. The celebration started with the enlivening of a new shrine to Guanyin. Sean Dennison, Executive Director of the USA and member of the FLK
board led the ceremony attended by Jane Edwards, the president of the USA society, members of the USA board, and members of the Tampa Bay area branches. A ribbon cutting ceremony, presided over by Karen Laughlin, the International president, Andrew Hung, an International director and a member of the FLK board, City Officials, Jane Edwards, and Jean Swantish, branch president followed.
A bag piper welcomed the community and friends to the celebration and everyone was treated to a lion dance. Children made paper tigers and Chinese lanterns at a table set up just for them and they defended themselves from the lion. Inside the center, the community was also treated to a Chinese dancer performing the Peacock Dance, a demonstration of the 108 moves, and speeches from city and society officials. The group then moved outside for refreshments and listened to music by a pipa player. Members of the St Petersburg Branch continued to perform Tai Chi demos and hand out class schedules and information throughout the evening to the over 300 attendees.
Members and friends gather in celebration at the St Petersburg's Grand Opening.
The Sarasota Branch held their Grand Opening on Saturday morning, May 15th at 11:30 am, welcoming over 300 visitors to their new building and grounds at 4101 South Lockwood Ridge Rd. The ceremonial ribbon-cutting again included International president Karen Laughlin plus International director and FLK board member Andrew Hung, USA executive director and FLK board member Sean Dennison, USA president Jane Edwards, Southeast Regional Management Committee president Pegoty Packman, Branch president Debbie Gates and several Sarasota county and city officials.
Another beautiful day in Florida and a beautiful sight too!
An entertaining and acrobatic lion dance followed, to bring good fortune to the new premises. Local branch members demonstrated the Taoist Tai Chi™ internal arts of health set, while Brian Lau (of Brandon/Temple Terrace) gave an explanation of the movements and physiology. After the demo and speeches by visiting dignitaries, guests enjoyed a traditional vegetarian luncheon.
The ribbon cutting ceremony.
In conjunction with the Sarasota and St. Petersburg Grand Openings, members from as far away as Costa Rica and Great Britain participated in a two-day workshop, led by Andrew Hung. And finally with the weather holding up nicely, many participants enjoyed doing sets and bagels on Siesta Beach, nearby, on Sunday morning.