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Fu Dogs at Bellevue City Hall to attract global guests

Fu Dogs, a gift from Bellevue
Fu Dogs, a gift from Bellevue's sister city, Hualien, Taiwan, watch over City Hall as two people stroll to the entrance Monday night. Fu Dogs are placed near building entrances for the symbolic protective power they are believed to possess, and for their decorative qualities.
— image credit: Craig Groshart, Bellevue Reporter

In honor of Bellevue's long-running sister city relationship with Hualien, Taiwan, two recently installed Fu Dog statues will be dedicated during a festive ceremony July 29 at City Hall.

The event runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the City Hall Plaza, 450 110th Ave. N.E. It will feature an "awakening" ceremony for the Fu Dogs, with lion dancing, a martial arts demonstration, musical performances, folk dancing and Taiko drumming. The even is free.

A delegation of government and business leaders from Taiwan will be on hand to mark the occasion and celebrate the 30-year sister city relationship between Hualien and Bellevue. The marble Fu Dogs were a gift from Hualien in 2010. Installation was completed two weeks ago.

"The dedication ceremony is a chance for the community to celebrate our special sister city relationship with Hualien," said Mayor Conrad Lee, who was born in China. "More than 30 percent of Bellevue residents were born outside the United States, and the largest nationality are Chinese. These beautiful statues symbolize our city's diversity and the importance of our international friendships."

The Fu Dogs, also known as Guardian Lions, replace a single "bachelor" dog that stood guard near the entrance to City Hall since 2006; before that it was located at Bellevue's old city hall at Main Street and 116th Avenue Southeast, starting in 1987.

Fu Dogs traditionally come in pairs and are placed near building entrances for the symbolic protective power they are believed to possess, and for their decorative qualities. Bellevue's new Fu Dogs each weigh about 3,600 pounds and are made of marble quarried from the Chungyang Mountains, west of Hualien.

The dedication event is cosponsored by the city of Bellevue and the Bellevue Sister Cities Association. Hualien is one of four Bellevue sister cities. The others are Kladno, Czech Republic; Liepaja, Latvia; and Yao, Japan. The sister city organization promotes cooperation, cultural understanding, humanitarian aid and economic development for Bellevue's sister cities.

Parking is limited at City Hall. However, there are numerous private parking lots nearby and the Bellevue Transit Center is across the street.

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