Last night we unveiled the program for next year's Sydney Chinese New Year Festival, celebrating the Year of the Monkey.
Over the past 20 years, the City's Chinese New Year Festival has evolved from a small community event to the largest Lunar New Year celebration outside China.
With light rail construction transforming the CBD, we have re-imagined the Festival and will make it bigger and better than ever.
The Festival's main feature, "Lunar Lanterns", will see giant lanterns representing animal signs of the Chinese Zodiac in CBD locations from 6-14 February 2016.
Lanterns will flank the entrance to Circular Quay, the business heart of Martin Place and the bustling streets of Chinatown, encouraging you to follow the trail and find your zodiac sign along the route.
For more than 2000 years the lantern has been an important part of Chinese New Year celebrations so I'm pleased we can continue that tradition in a modern way.
Groups from Asian communities will be invited to perform and take part in activities at each lantern location over the nine days and nights, showcasing these rich cultures.
Lunar Lanterns is our way of creating a spectacular and memorable Chinese New Year Festival experience in place of the parade we have held in the past. Given George Street will be unavailable due to light rail construction, the City tried to find an alternate parade route with the State Government. Unfortunately, we were unable to find a suitable route that would not compromise the size and integrity of the parade.
Since it began in Sydney, the City has produced 108 events for the Chinese New Year Festival, supported more than 600 associated events and hosted 10 delegations from China to be part of the celebrations.
The festival now attracts more than 600,000 visitors to more than 80 events across the city, making it one of the most popular events in Sydney's calendar.