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Firecrackers, feasts and fiery dragons are among some of the many Asian cultural delights set to mark the beginning of the new lunar year at the inaugural Chinese New Year Melbourne Festival, running from 6 – 21 February 2016.
Unifying the city’s Year of the Monkey celebrations and presenting a cohesive cultural experience for locals and visitors alike, the Chinese New Year Melbourne Festival will offer 16 days of vibrant festivities bursting with cultural events, markets, tours, entertainment and more.
The Festival links multiple Chinese New Year events and activations across the city from Chinatown to Federation Square, Southgate Melbourne, Crown Melbourne, Docklands, Queen Victoria Market and The Hotel Windsor.
Chinese New Year Melbourne Festival program highlights:
- Federation Square 6 – 7 February:
The Federation of Chinese Associations will be holding its Chinese culture showcase exhibiting Chinese Martial Arts, children’s handcrafts and lantern painting at Federation Square. A delicious Street of Chinese Cuisine will also be present with 20 varieties of Chinese dishes to taste. Entertainment includes Chinese lion dance, drumming, children’s performances, live music and a youth hip-hop competition. Stallholders will be selling Chinese cuisine.
- Docklands: 4 – 14 February:
Fairfax Media is presenting The Age Lunar Markets at the Docklands precinct, a free to attend pop-up food festival offering delicious Asian cuisine and a range of outdoor bars and entertainment over 11 nights.
8– 21 February: Explore Docklands and follow the Chinese New Year trail of illumination and discover the red lanterns, corridor of moons and stars, playing pandas, opera masks, boy and girl lanterns and the giant Phoenix installation.
8 February: Celebrate Chinese New Year with roving lion and dragon dances, free children’s craft activities including lantern making and face painting.
Harbour Town Melbourne, Melbourne Star Observation Wheel, O’Brien Group Arena, NewQuay and Collins Square will all join the celebration of the Year of the Monkey with special offers and activations.
- Chinatown: 7 – 21 February:
A host of celebrations include lion dance blessings of the shops, Chinese Australian heritage, and roaming performers. On Chinese New Year there is the Chinese New Year Eve Family Day includes Outdoor Cinema and Countdown to Midnight (7 Feb).
8 February: MasterChef comes to Chinatown.
14 February: The Melbourne Dai Loong Association, custodians of the dragon parade tradition, are heralding the Spring Festival and the New Year with the Millennium Dragon Parade through the streets of Melbourne.
- Queen Victoria Market: 2 – 20 February:
A three-week activation will include dramatic Opera Mask illuminated totems throughout the precinct; a traditional lion dance (Tues 16 Feb, 12.30pm); a spectacular dragon dance during the Summer Night Market (Wed 17 Feb, 8pm); and the stunning red Lantern Festival on Saturday 20 February, which includes a hawker market of traditional Asian food stalls, roving performances and lantern making workshops. The market will also be running the two hour Lucky Monkey Market guided tour in English and Mandarin. Visitors will be able to taste their way around the market and listen
to stories from local Chinese traders. Tours operate Fri 19 and Sat 20 February.
- Yarra River: 6 – 21 February:
Come and see Australia’s largest illuminated Dragon Head at Eureka Skydeck Plaza Area. At Southgate Melbourne there will be Chinese Zodiac lanterns and along its pedestrian bridge there will be cute illuminated Pandas on show. At Queensbridge Square, the Monkey Arch Corridor installation will be positioned as an extension to Sandridge Pedestrian Bridge and an installation of lanterns depicting Chinese Opera with a matching soundscape will be located on the Queensbridge Square stage. Taste delicious snacks from the Asian-inspired Food Truck.
19 – 21 February: Cultural performances including lion dance, dragon dance and drumming are providing entertainment at Queensbridge Square.
- Federation Square 6 – 7 February: