Sydney is preparing to welcome the Year of the Horse with the City's 2014 Chinese New Year program revealing the biggest line-up in its 18-year history.
From 24 January to 9 February, Sydney's streets will come to life with the sights, smells and tastes of one of the world's biggest Lunar New Year celebrations. Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the festival, which features more than 80 events, is expected to attract over 600,000 visitors from Sydney, interstate and overseas. "We're expecting hundreds of thousands of people to celebrate with us to welcome in the Year of the Horse and experience the excitement of Chinese New Year," the Lord Mayor said. "Festival favourites like the Twilight Parade, Belmore Park markets and Dragon Ballare back, but we've also got plenty of new events from film festivals and world premiere dance performances to brand new food highlights." This year's festival ambassadors include renowned TV presenter, fashion designer and author Claudia Chan Shaw, photographer and performer William Yang, and Chui Lee Luk, the chef behind Surry Hills' new Chow Bar & Eating House. 2014 Sydney Chinese New Year Festival highlights Festival Launch Celebration - 24 January at Belmore Park Celebrate the beginning of the Chinese New Year Festival at Belmore Park as it is transformed into a bustling night market filled with food stalls and spectacular live performances. Grab a bite to eat and soak up the atmosphere with lions anddragons, firecrackers scaring off the misfortunes of the previous year and music from the SBS Pop Asia crew. Chinese New Year Markets - 24 to 26 January at Belmore Park Belmore Park will be filled with the tastes, sights and sounds of Asia for three spectacular days and nights. Work your way through the market stalls as you watch martial arts performances, cooking demonstrations and a cinema screening under the stars. Twilight Parade - 2 February from Sydney Town Hall to Chinatown The annual Twilight Parade is always the highlight of Sydney's Chinese New Year celebrations. Be enchanted by the dazzling costumes, live music, colourful animated projections and incredible floats as more than 3,000 performers feature in this street spectacular. Welcoming the Year of the Horse, the majestic animal will feature heavily in this year's parade, as rocking horses, jockeys, chess knights and ponies wind their way through the city streets, finishing with fireworks at Darling Harbour. Crossing Boundaries - 22 January to 9 February at Sydney Town Hall From sculpture and installation to ceramics and performance, along with an extensive children's program, artist forums and daily talks, Crossing Boundaries explores blurred geographical boundaries and unique cultural influences. More than 20 respected Asian-Australian artists are part of an extensive contemporary art exhibition and program that celebrates the strong and growing connections between these two significant art worlds. Dragon Ball - 8 February at The Star Get ready for a night of glamour and magic at the annual Dragon Ball. Recreating the event that was a highlight of the Chinese social calendar from the 1930s to the1970s, the ball moves to The Star for the first time in 2014. Enjoy the tunes of a big band while you sip on cocktails and dance the past year away. Dragon Boat Races - 8 February at Cockle Bay, Darling Harbour Watch as more than 1,000 paddlers churn up the water in 12-metre-long boats,featuring an ornately carved dragon head and tail. Thousands of spectators are expected to line the banks of Cockle Bay to watch as the boats battle it out in the southern hemisphere's largest dragon boat racing festival. Lunar Feasts - 24 January to 9 February at participating restaurants Some of Sydney's best-loved Asian restaurants will be serving up delicious set-price meals to celebrate the arrival of the Lunar New Year. Treat yourself to meals that will tantalise your tastebuds without leaving a hole in your pocket.