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Lunar New Year Festival attracts up to 50,000 visitors to Hurstville


A huge crowd of up to 50,000 residents and visitors flocked to Hurstville on Saturday 10 February to welcome in the Year of the Dog at Georges River Council’s Lunar New Year Festival in Hurstville.
The celebrations kicked-off with the festival’s first ever street parade, with a series of vibrant floats featuring a Chinese dragon, the God of Wealth, corgis for the Year of the Dog, golden nuggets, and red packets.
The street parade was met with enthusiasm by the large crowds, with Council’s mascot, Georgie the Dragon, joining in on the fun and leading the parade along Forest Road.
The official proceedings commenced with an eye dotting ceremony performed by His Excellency Consul-General of the People’s Republic of China, Gu Xiao Jie; Mayor of Georges River Council, Kevin Greene; and Major Events Advisory Committee chair, Councillor Christina Wu.
Visitors and invited guests were then treated to firecrackers, plus a spectacular lion and dragon dance performed by Australian Yau Kung Mun Martial Arts. Onlookers were amazed by the spectacle, which included a colourful lion leaping from pole to pole metres off the ground.
As part of the official opening, His Excellency Consul-General of the People’s Republic of China, Gu Xiao Jie addressed the crowd, wishing them good health and prosperity for the Year of the Dog.
An abundance of activities were enjoyed by the community throughout the day, which included over 80 food and information stalls, attracting large crowds and creating an exciting and festive atmosphere.
There were also two kids’ activities corners, where children were able to pat baby animals, enjoy rides, have their face painted, play on a jumping castle and have twisted balloon animals made.
Throughout the day, the celebrations continued on the entertainment stage with a series of amazing cultural performances by a variety of community groups and professional performers.
Performances included an impressive martial arts display by Sydney Self Defence Centre, beautiful traditional dancing by Sydney Hills Garden Shire Chinese Folk Art, and a fantastic orchestral display by Arco Music Academy Chamber Orchestra.
For the first time ever, festival entertainment included two headline acts, Leslie Lee and Jacquely Wang. Leslie is a popular singer and member of Chinese group The Dreamers, while Jacquely is a winner of the 2012 TVB International New Talent Singing Competition for the Sydney Region. She performs regularly at Sydney’s Town Hall and also is the leading singer for the Chinese National Anthem for the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China.
The Nguyen family from Channel Nine’s Family Food Fight also made an appearance and enthusiastically answered questions about their experience of competing in the popular television competition.
The festival continues to evolve and become more exciting and entertaining each year, and Council is looking forward to showcasing the wonderful harmony and diversity of the Georges River area again next year.
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