Birmingham is set to welcome Chinese New Year in style as this years’ jam-packed schedule of activity is announced for 2017! From show-stopping lion dances to swinging acrobatics, oriental street food to traditional lantern making, Birmingham’s 15th annual Chinese New Year Festival is set to be bigger and better than ever.
On Sunday 29 January, the Chinese New Year celebrations will takeover the Southside for the 15th year running. With last year’s event attracting more than 25,000 visitors, the 2017 celebration hopes to draw in double this, with two stages located on Hurst Street and at the Arcadian creating the main focus points.
At 12pm, the Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Councillor Carl Rice, will take to the main stage to welcome visitors to the festival and officially kick off this years’ celebration.
Performances by everyone’s favourite traditional lion and dragon dancers, Choy Lee Fut, will follow, in addition to a demonstration from Praying Mantis Kung Fu Club. Both troops will be treating visitors to a second performance taking place on the main stage.
James Wong, Chairman of the CFC-B and Managing Director of Chung Ying Restaurant Group said:
“The excitement has really amped up as we announce our programme for the 15th Chinese New Year in Birmingham. With a huge number of visitors expected to head for Southside, we can only thank the community and the members of the Chinese Festival Committee for joining together to raise the funds which are necessary to make this day happen.
At 12.30pm, the Bai Ling Acrobats Troop will be showcasing Chinese opera face changing, acrobatic dancing, Chinese magic, and their own lion and dragon dances. No need to worry if you miss it, as they will be putting on a second performance on at 2.45pm.
As well as catching a glimpse of the showstopping performances taking place on the main stage, make sure to wander through the event as there is plenty more to enjoy down at the Birmingham Airport stage on Ladywell Walk. If you missed Choy Lee Fut’s first performance, they will be performing again at Southside Arch at 12.45pm, followed by a workshop. The Academy of Wing Chun will also be putting on a demonstration and martial arts workshop at 1.40pm.
“From traditional showcases of lion and dragon dances, Chinese magic, street food, martial arts and acrobatic performances, 2017 will act as a benchmark for following years!”
In the meantime, head over to Hippodrome Square to witness some of RoguePlay’s finest entertainment, which includes a fire act at 11.30am, silk acts at 12.45pm and 2.30pm, and their hoop routine at 1.05pm.
Feel free to bring along the entire family, as the Patrick Centre on Thorp Street as they will be offering free workshops for children throughout the day from 11.30am to 4pm. Let your little ones get creative with Chinese calligraphy, lantern or mask making and more!
All of these activities will be sure to work up an appetite, so don’t forget to head over to the Arcadian and delve into a vast array of Chinese street food as well as face painting and live music from 12.30pm to 3.30pm. With dumplings to symbolise wealth, sweet rice balls to represent family reunions and clementine’s to ensure good luck and fortune in the year ahead, the day is set to be full of fun and indulgence.
Proceedings will start to wrap up at 3.45pm with the final lion and dragon dances, complete with firecrackers to ward off evil spirits.
Julia Chance, Southside BID manager, said:
“Despite the hit of losing our funding for the festival due to Birmingham City Council budget cuts, the whole community has really come together to make Chinese New Year a success. We cannot wait to see the transformation of Southside into a buzzing centre of Chinese culture as it welcomes a huge number of visitors.”