The Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center will offer two free, family-friendly events this month that celebrate time-honored cultural traditions.

The first event, on Saturday, Jan. 11, will explore the music, dance and history of African American culture. Two weeks later, on Saturday, Jan. 25, the center will celebrate the Lunar New Year and the Chinese Year of the Rat with a traditional lion dance and crafts.

Both events will be held in the Bankhead lobby and plaza and are open to the public.

The African American cultural celebration will feature keynote speaker Apryl Chauhan and include a presentation on the year-long importance of Kwanzaa. The event will include traditional dancing and drumming, and will offer the opportunity to explore an African American cultural history display and take part in hands-on crafts. The event is co-sponsored by Grandmothers Who Help, a local organization dedicated to passing down the history of the African American people and promoting unity in our communities.

The Lunar New Year celebration will also include traditional Asian dances, cultural demonstrations, food and crafts. The days marks the start of the Year of the Rat in accordance with the Chinese zodiac. In addition to the colorful and dramatic lion dance, one of the most familiar Chinese New Year traditions, a festive Community Altar will provide an opportunity to offer gifts such as fruit, flowers or money for good tidings of health and prosperity in the coming year.

The free cultural events are part of Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center’s educational outreach efforts. The center will also observe Hispanic Heritage Day on Saturday May 9. For more information, visit lvpac.org or email education@lvpac.org.