Columbia Friends of China to host Saturday luncheon

Wednesday, April 8, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — For an afternoon of Chinese food, culture and yo-yos, join Columbia Friends of China at its luncheon Saturday.

Incorporated in April 2006, the group looks to raise awareness of the relationship between Columbia and Laoshan, China, in Shandong province. According to its Web site,, the organization hopes to “create a different understanding of the cultural similarities and differences embodied by the inhabitants of the two cities.”

If you go

What: Columbia Friends of China luncheon and awards ceremony

Time: Noon to 2 p.m.

Date: Saturday

Where: Columbia Chinese Christian Church, 3316 S. Rock Quarry Road

Cost: Free to members of Columbia Friends of China and $10 for non-members.

To RSVP, contact Hsiao-Mei Wiedmeyer at or call 808-6207. Please RSVP by Wednesday.

Hsiao-Mei Wiedmeyer has been president since the group began in October 2005.

“A few of us (Columbia’s Chinese residents) got together because we were interested in having a Chinese sister city with Columbia,” she said. “We have been trying to promote exchange and cultural education between our sister city and Columbia.”

Its efforts over the past three years have included sending groups of people, such as teachers and bluegrass bands, abroad to learn and work in China. Columbia Friends of China has also sponsored educational programs in Columbia schools.

“We just finished a three-day Chinese immersion program at Lange Middle School,” Wiedmeyer said. Activities included Chinese paper-folding, Chinese calligraphy and background lessons in Chinese history and geography.

Those attending Saturday’s festivities can expect to see a celebration of these accomplishments and more. A traditional Chinese meal, Chinese music and a yo-yo demonstration by a Taiwanese artist are all on the list of events.

There will also be an awards ceremony recognizing the efforts of Columbia teachers who have dedicated more than 250 hours to teaching Chinese culture.

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Allan Sharrock April 8, 2009 | 9:04 p.m.

I wish I could attend. The Friends of China did a excellent job at our school. The kids loved the Chinese yo yo known as a diablo. The authentic food was excellent too. Here is a clip of what you could see if you attended.

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