A dazzling dance by a 175-foot Golden Dragon will mark the Chinese New Year in the centre of Manchester on Sunday (10 February 2008).
A glittering array of festivities will welcome the Year of the Golden Rat, including lion, ribbon and flag dances, kung fu demonstrations in Albert Square and Chinatown. There will be Chinese acrobats and drummers, folk dance performances, stalls and workshops.
The spectacular golden dragon will perform in Albert Square in front of Manchester Town Hall before leaving the square at 12.30pm to lead a colourful parade, with drums and gong, lion dances, money god and Chinese fairies.
The parade will make its noisy and colourful way via Princess Street to nearby Chinatown, where it will entertain an expected crowd of thousands in the car park next to the Chinese Arch.
In Albert Square and around the streets of Chinatown, there will be special stalls offering Chinese arts and crafts, oriental food, Chinese traditional medicine, calligraphy, Chinese costumes, jewellery, ornamental objects and fortune-telling.
There will also be fairground rides and the chance to sample the delights of the surrounding restaurants and oriental shops.
The whole area will be decorated with hundreds of Chinese lanterns, flags and banners.
The official celebrations will end with a stunning firework finale at about 6.30pm. The celebratory atmosphere in Chinatown carries on well into the night.
The event is being organised by the Federation of Chinese Associations of Manchester, supported by Manchester City Council.
Mr Tyze Li, First Vice-President of the Federation, said: "The New Year celebrations always attract a huge crowd and gives the Chinese community in Manchester the chance to share some exciting aspects of our culture with others."
Councillor Mike Kane, Manchester City Council's Executive Member for Arts and Leisure, said: "The golden dragon dance has to be seen to be believed and the parade is an unforgettable spectacle. I'm sure the many thousands of visitors to our city on Sunday will have a very enjoyable time."
Last year's event attracted more than 50,000 visitors, making it the biggest Chinese festival in the North.
The Chinese community makes up almost 4 per cent of the city's population of 400,000.
For more information visit http://www.manchesterlive.co.uk/
Martin Hellewell, tel: 0161 234 3729