Welcome to the Year of the Horse

Sydney is set to come alive with all the sights, sounds and smells of Chinese New Year as we welcome the Year of the Horse next week.

The City's 2014 Chinese New Year program boasts the biggest line-up of its 18 year history, complete with 80 events between 24 January and 9 February.

The festival is expected to attract more than 600,000 visitors from Sydney, interstate and overseas.

I joined Councillor Robert Kok, Festival Ambassador and fashion designer Claudia Chan Shaw, Chinese Parents Association President Miranda Vuong, and Festival Director Gill Minervini at the Evergreen Taoist Temple in Redfern to give the media a preview of the festival.

The Evergreen Taoist Temple is a hidden treasure, and you can take a tour of it as part of this year's celebrations.

This is a fantastic time of year with Belmore Park set to be transformed into a bustling night market, while traditional song, dance and more than 3000 performers in colourful costumes will take over Chinatown as part of the Twilight Parade. One of the crowning jewels of this year's Chinese New Year festivities is the retro-glamorous Dragon Ball, which returned last year after a 40 year hiatus.

Sydney's Dragon Ball was first held in 1938 in the historic Trocadero and this year will be on at The Star, complete with magicians, lion dancers and a big band. This is a great example of bringing the Chinese and Australian communities together to enjoy great food, dancing and extravagant entertainment.

I know there will be something on offer for everyone over the next month. So, Kung Hei Fat Choy and may the Year of the Horse bring peace, prosperity and good fortune to all!

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