Welcoming the Year of the Dragon

Tonight marks the beginning of our Chinese New Year Festival, with a magnificent launch at Belmore Park including lion dancing, music, food and performance. The Festival, which runs until 5 February, is the largest of its kind outside of Asia.

I invite you to come to Belmore Park and experience the sights, sounds and flavours of a bustling Asian market as well as cooking demonstrations by MasterChef Australia stars, this weekend, at our Chinese New Year Markets. There will also be big-screen karaoke, live Korean rock music and performances direct from Chengdu, China.

On Saturday Deputy Lord Mayor Robert Kok will join me to celebrate the launch of three revamped laneways in Chinatown - Little Hay Street, Factory Street and Kimber Lane - which includes wider footpaths, more trees, new public art by Jason Wing, as well as the opening of the Dixon Street information kiosk.

The highlight of the Chinese New Year Festival is always our Twilight Parade on Sunday 29 January. Hundreds of performers, musicians, acrobats and dancers will bring George Street and Chinatown alive. This year we are working with the city of Chengdu, and their fire dragon is sure to be an incredible sight.

There's a fantastic collection of Chinese art, thanks to Red Gate Gallery, at Town Hall's Centennial Hall, and at Customs House a Sydney photographer Sharon Hickey's is exhibiting some of her great photos from past Chinese New Year festivals.

We'll be adding footage and pictures from the parade, interviews, behind the scenes videos and event updates to our website and social media. You can get involved by sharing and posting your photos, videos and updates. Tag your tweets or Instagram pics with #CNYSYD and we'll share the best on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

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