Bigger Chinese New Year celebrations start this weekend in Sunderland to celebrate the year of the Monkey.
Keel Square will hold the vibrant afternoon of activities from 1pm to 5pm on Sunday 7.
The event has been organised by Ian Wong, of Asiana Fusion restaurant, and Harry Collinson, of Rough Diamond Entertainment, and supported by Sunderland Business Improvement District.
Ian Wong of Asiana Fusion restaurant, said: “Sitting on the board of Directors for the Sunderland BID, I have always felt that the city of Sunderland needed a Chinese New Year celebration, there is an ever increasing amount of Chinese students coming into Sunderland every year, and the Chinese culture is still relatively unknown in this surrounding area.
“Also with the launch of the City of Culture bid late last year, I would the Chinese New Year celebration at Keel square would help the cause.”
The Chinese new year celebrations begin on Saturday 6 at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens with arts and crafts, selling stalls, lion dances, martial arts demonstrations, storytelling and family trails.
Mr Wong said: “Organising the event alongside Harry Collinson who also sits on the BID board, took around 4 months, although the discussion has been in the pipeline for a year or so.
“The planning and organising of the event has had many welcome responses from the community and business, although there has been some delays, general process has been making sure that all the events and findings were in place.”
During Sunday 7 there will be performance from schools, the college and university, and of course Firecrackers, Dragon and lion dances.
The organiser added: “We will also be having a performance of a Qilin dance (Chinese unicorn), as there is a large Haka (a Chinese dialect) community in the North East.
“Besides, it being a free and packed full of entertainment event, it will be a great way for people who don’t know a huge amount about the celebrations to experience the vibrancy and excitement that is associated with the Chinese New Year Celebrations.
“There will also be a limited amount of free educational programs that explains all the elements involved in the festivities.”
1pm – Introduction by Harry Collinson
1.05pm – Opening by His Right Worshipful Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Barry Curran and the Deputy Consul General Mr Lai Bo
1.20pm – Dragon dance
1.40pm – Firecrackers
2pm – Qi Lin dance
2.30pm – St. Anthony’s RC School year 7 performance
2.40pm – Dance performance by 2 University Students in traditional Chinese costumes
3pm – Traditional Chinese music performance
3.10pm – Sunderland University Chinese Students
3.30pm – Blessing of the lion
3.45pm – Lion dance
4.20pm – Kung Fu display
4.40pm – Lanterns and red packets from His Right Worshipful Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Barry Curran