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Chinese New Year set to go off with a bang

By Mark Beale

FIREWORKS, firecrackers and lion dancers – Airlie Beach is set for a treat this weekend as the region celebrates Chinese New Year.

The Whitsunday Regional Council and Whitsunday Marketing Development Limited (WMDL) are busy preparing for Saturday’s party, sponsored by Whitsunday Chinatown Investment and International Student Entrepreneurship Capital.

The festivities will take place at the Airlie Beach foreshore, which will be decked out with Chinese lanterns.

“The festivities will start at 5.30pm with a lion dance at the esplanade end of Airlie Beach main street which will proceed along the esplanade to the beach where firecrackers will be let off and lanterns will be on display,” Mayor Jenny Whitney said.

“The fireworks will start at 6.30pm on the Airlie foreshore. Council hopes the local community will enjoy the unique Chinese New Year celebrations and experience a little taste of Chinese culture on their biggest celebration of the year.

“I urge the local community to come down to Airlie foreshore to take part in the celebrations and experience a little taste of Chinese culture on their biggest celebration day of the year.”

WMDL executive director Jeff Aquilina said the Whitsundays was preparing for a busy Chinese New Year period over the coming weeks with a tourism surge anticipated.

“We are expecting a spike in visitation to the region during Chinese New Year and local operators are already reporting high occupancy levels throughout the coming weeks,” he said.

“Last year, we saw an immense boost in visitation during Chinese New Year which is traditionally a rather quiet time of the year and I am confident that we will see even more visitors travelling to the Whitsundays this year,” he said.

“The Chinese New Year celebrations are a fantastic initiative to make our Chinese visitors feel welcome and I look forward to seeing our town buzzing with joy on Saturday.”

This year’s zodiac sign is goat/sheep.

CELEBRATE

What: Chinese New Year

When: Saturday, February 21 from 5.30pm

Where: Airlie Beach foreshore

Cost: Free

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