JOPLIN, Mo. — A southwest Missouri church is ringing in the Chinese New Year with international students and families.

College Heights Christian Church celebrated the Lunar New Year with Chinese families Sunday.

Guests enjoyed a choir, violinists, a seaweed eating contest, and homemade traditional Chinese food.

This event is not only for those who celebrate the Lunar New Year annually, but also for those who want to learn about other cultures.

Kaitlyn Curry, College Heights Christian Church associate minister for internationals, says, “This New Year is not the normal New Year that we celebrate here in the States and [we, as well as our] Chinese friends and those who celebrate the Lunar New Year, I hope that they get to see some of those traditions and make it part of their celebration every year too.”

New this year, a Chinese-speaking competition will be held at Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School for pre-kindergarten through 12th grades.