The first \"U.S. Chinese New Year Gala\" will be staged in New York\'s Hammerstein Ballroom during the Lantern Festival in early February 2012, according to the general director of the event. The four-hour gala will feature a wide range of performances that showcase Han culture, ethnic minority culture, Chinese opera, folk dancing, traditional music instruments, martial arts and acrobatics, said Chen Gang, the gala\'s general director here Monday. The non-profit event is sponsored by four major overseas Chinese community organizations: the Federation of Chinese Association of USA, the Fukien Benevolent Association of America, United Fujianese of America Association, and the Tsung Tsin Association. According to Chen, an expert panel is currently selecting programs submitted by various cultural heritage performance organizations and performing groups and individuals. \"Cultural heritage usually played a supporting role in previous stage performances, but this time it will be the main theme,\" said Chen, who expressed the hope that the gala will show overseas Chinese\'s respect for Chinese cultural heritage as well as their determination to protect such heritage. Hundreds of overseas Chinese, American politicians and business people are expected to attend the event, and highlights of the show will be broadcast on Channel 4 of the China Central Television, according to Chen.