Year of the Snake approaches

It's time to welcome the year of the snake. On February 8 the City of Sydney will begin our Chinese New Year Festival. It is the largest celebration of its kind outside of Asia and runs until February 24.

We have an exciting program of events which shows off the vitality and history of our Asian community. Highlights of the Festival will include:

Festival Launch and Chinese New Year Markets - Friday 8 to Sunday 10 February at Belmore Park.

For three days and nights, Belmore Park will become a pop-up Asian marketplace with more than 40 stalls from the local Asian community and visitors from Shenzhen. Come and enjoy delicious food, cooking demonstrations, lion dancers, DJs, karaoke competitions, nonstop Asian pop, Korean rock, film screenings, art and craft workshops and more.

Twilight Parade - Sunday 17 February from Sydney Town Hall to Chinatown.

The Twilight Parade is the highlight of our Chines New Year celebrations. Each year the event grows and this year we will have 3,500 local and international performers, including 120 artists from Shenzhen. Incredible floats, dazzling costumes, dancers, martial artists, illuminated zodiac lanterns and fireworks will transform George Street and Darling Harbour.

Dragon Ball - Saturday 23 February at Sydney Town Hall.

For the first time we will recreate Sydney's iconic Dragon Ball - the premier event of the local Chinese community's social calendar from the 1930s-70s at Sydney's famous Trocadero. Join in a glamorous evening of big-band swing, dancing, supper, cocktails and frocks.

Dragon Boat Races - 23 and 24 February at Cockle Bay.

As many as 3,000 people will join in the annual Dragon Boat competition. Crews in 12-metre-long boats, featuring the head and tail of a dragon, will compete in the largest competition of its kind in the southern hemisphere.

Snake Snake Snake contemporary art exhibition - 5 to 23 February at Sydney Town Hall.

See works by emerging and established artists from China, Vietnam and Korea in the historic setting of Sydney town Hall. There will also be free artist talks and demonstrations.

Lunar Feasts - 8 to 24 February at participating Sydney restaurants.

Some of Sydney's favourite Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean restaurants will welcome the Year of the Snake with Lunar New Year feasts. Unique and affordable menus will mean there is something to satisfy everyone's taste.

Each year City of Sydney welcomes a delegation from one of China's major provinces to join us in our Chinese New Year festivities. This year, visiting performers and artists from Shenzhen will celebrate the Year of the Snake with us.

For more details on our Chinese New Year Festival visit www.sydneychinesenewyear.com

Kung Hei Fat Choy and may the Year of the Snake bring good fortune to all.

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