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City of Sydney prepares for Lunar Festival celebrations

City of Sydney prepares for Lunar Festival celebrations
January 28, 2022

The City of Sydney is preparing for its Lunar Festival to mark the Year of the Tiger and welcome people back into the city centre and the heart of Chinatown.

Central Sydney will light up for Lunar New Year festivities from 29th January to 13th February, with more than 80 events, exhibitions, concerts, outdoor displays and celebrations planned across the town day and night. 

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the richly diverse program will honour the auspicious Year of the Tiger and celebrate Sydney’s creative talent, fabulous food, culture and community over 16 days and three weekends.

“There’s no doubt the past two years have been incredibly tough for our residents and local businesses, who have endured endless lockdowns and seen trade suffer,” the Lord Mayor said. 

“But in the Year of the Tiger, Sydney is ready to roar again, and we’re going to make sure there’s lots to celebrate, from Haymarket to the Rocks, from Cockle Bay to the CBD.

“Our festival is the largest celebration of the Lunar New Year outside Asia. For more than two decades, this unique and internationally recognised event has played a vital role in unifying Sydney, strengthening our cultural relationships and supporting local businesses of all shapes and sizes.

“At the heart of our celebrations this year is a strong desire to give Sydneysiders something to celebrate and give our local businesses an opportunity to bounce back, especially in Chinatown, where local restaurants continue to suffer the economic fallout of the Covid pandemic.

“We’re lining the city with larger-than-life Lunar lanterns and transforming our streets into outdoor galleries. And for the first time, Sydney’s youngest artists will be taking centre stage as our star designers.”

The Lord Mayor advised that COVID-19 safety plans will be in place for all City of Sydney Lunar Festival events and NSW Health regulations will be followed and added “many events and programs across NSW continue to be impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and the recent surge in case numbers. As we deal with the impacts of the latest Omicron variant, we will work with the NSW Government to ensure the event is managed in line with public health orders.

“We urge people attending our events to be vaccinated, wear a mask and practise safe distancing. If you are feeling unwell, please stay home.”

In Chinese folklore, tigers are the guardians of children. To mark the year of the Tiger, the City of Sydney has drawn on young talent to create the Sydney Lunar Festival artwork with a design competition that attracted more than 1,250 entries.

Six designs were selected and the colourful artworks of Anja,11, Chloe, 10, Katie, 9, Amber, 9, William, 8, and Ruisi, 6, are featured on street banners, bus shelters and billboards to brighten the city streets like never before.

Two of the designs have also been transformed into lunar lanterns – ‘big mouth tiger’ by Ruisi and ‘tiger roll’ by Chloe – and will stand guard at the Town Hall steps.

The children’s artwork is just one of more than 80 attractions that will enliven the 2022 Sydney Lunar Festival. This year’s events and attractions include:

  • Lunar Lanes outdoor event in Chinatown on Saturday 29th January from 5pm to 10pm, with live entertainment, roving performers, markets stalls, food trucks, DJ’s and lion dancing.
  • Welcome to Koreatown, a one-night street festival in Wilmot St, celebrating local culture, food and artists on Saturday 12th February from 5pm to 11pm.
  • 23 illuminated lunar lanterns representing the 12 animals of the zodiac on display along George Street and in Chinatown from Saturday 29th January to Sunday 13th February.
  • the Lunar Spectacular Show featuring an array of community performers bringing Town Hall to life on Saturday 12 February.
  • the city’s streets turned into a giant art gallery with banners featuring the work of five local Asian-Australian artists, who share what the Year of the Tiger means for them in their artworks.
  • the famed Dragon Boat Races, back for a spectacular weekend of competition in Darling Harbour’s Cockle Bay on Saturday 5th February and Sunday 6 February.
  • a new Year of the Water Tiger artwork by local artist Susan Chen, transforming Dixon Street Mall.
  • roving street performers and lion dancers taking to the streets of the city and Chinatown.
  •  three hand-painted lunar gateways on Alfred Street celebrating Korean, Chinese and Vietnamese traditional architecture.

The Sydney Lunar Festival has injected more than $50 million into the local economy in previous years, and despite the impact of the Black Summer bushfires and the start of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, local celebrations netted close to $30 million for local businesses that year. 

City of Sydney Councillor Robert Kok said this year Chinatown would be an important centre for celebrations to support local business operators.

“We know that businesses around Chinatown and throughout Haymarket have been badly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic,” Councillor Kok said.

“This year we’re taking the festival back to the home of Lunar New Year celebrations with events, activations, colourful decorations and roving performers to help draw visitors to the area. We are also supporting activations across Koreatown and Haymarket to support the whole Asian community area.

“Since 2010, the City has invested tens of millions of dollars in transforming this area, including making George Street a world-class car-free boulevard. Soon we will also begin work on a further $5 million upgrade of Dixon Street Mall to further support local businesses.”

You can see the vast range of events, dining specials and entertainment to mark the Lunar New Year and Year of the Tiger on the City of Sydney’s What’s On website.

Image top: Sydney Lunar Festival - Lord Mayor Clover Moore and Cr Robert Kok with winning Tiger artists; more community groups than ever before will share a taste of their culture at the Lunar Spectacular Shows. Credit: Katherine Griffiths; Lion dancers will be in Sydney’s streets throughout the 22SLF

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