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By Mark Beale

THE man behind the proposed Airlie Beach Chinatown development is also putting up his hand to sponsor a Chinese New Year event.

President of Whitsunday Chinatown Investment Pty Ltd and International Student Entrepreneurship Capital Pty, Raymond Wang, says Chinese New Year is about renewal and a new environment.

“[And] this Chinese New Year also signifies a new deep relationship and friendship between the Whitsunday region and China,” he said.

The event, on February 21, will include a free community fireworks display, lion dance, firecrackers and Chinese lanterns on the Airlie foreshore, to celebrate the year of the sheep.

The lion dance will start at the Esplanade end of the Airlie Beach main street at 5.30pm, proceeding along the Esplanade to the beach, where firecrackers will be let off and lanterns will be on display.

The fireworks will start at 6.30pm in the usual location on the Airlie foreshore.

Mayor Jennifer Whitney said these celebrations would be a great opportunity for the local community to experience a little taste of Chinese culture on their biggest celebration day of the year.

“[And these] Chinese New Year celebrations are being sponsored by Whitsunday Chinatown Investments Pty. Ltd as a way of building the community relationship between the Whitsunday region and China,” she said.

Whitsunday Regional Council and Whitsundays Marketing Development Limited (WMDL) will be co-ordinating the celebrations.

WMDL’s chairman Jim Elder welcomed the initiative and on-going commitment by Mr Raymond Wang to the Whitsunday community.

“It is a great way to re-affirm the strong partnership between the Whitsunday region and China and I am sure that the celebrations [will be] a great attraction for locals and visitors alike,” he said.

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