Fiona Ma for State Assembly

Lions of luck: Taoist temple at Weaverville's Joss House state park set to close

The traditional Chinese Lion Dance at Weaverville's Joss House on Saturday took on special poignancy, as it occurred just months before the state historic park is due to close July 1 along with 69 others.

Built by Chinese gold miners and merchants in 1874, the oldest continually used Taoist temple in California has been a place to worship and more recently a tourist draw after the parks system took over in 1956.

Members of the nonprofit Weaverville Joss House Association were volunteering at Saturday's celebration of the Chinese new year.

Making the trip from the Bay Area was Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, D-San Francisco, who told the more than 340 people gathered that $80,000 was needed by April to keep the site open.

Ma, a Joss House supporter, "fed" one of the brilliantly colored dancing lions a check for $5,000. Those working to preserve the shrine are steadfast in their efforts.

"You really have to see it to appreciate it," said Pat Zugg, longtime Weaverville resident, association board member and president of the Trinity County Chamber of Commerce.

The lions did their part, by dancing in the Year of the Dragon and summoning prosperity and good fortune.