Sunderland to ring in the Year of the Monkey with Keel Square celebration today

Will you attend Sunderland's Chinese New Year celebrations today?

Will you attend Sunderland's Chinese New Year celebrations today?

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An exciting Chinese New Year celebration will kick off in Sunderland this afternoon.

The city's first celebrations in honour of the festival, which this year marks the Year of the Monkey, will feature a traditional dragon dance, a firecracker display and demonstrations of music.

Taking place in Keel Square, the four-hour programme of events was organised by Harry Collinson, local businessman of Rough Diamond Entertainment, and Ian Wong, who runs Asiana restaurant.

Speaking to the Echo when the celebrations were announced, Mr Wong said "the time was right to have a sizeable celebration in the city for Chinese New Year".

He continued: "There is quite a large Chinese community in Sunderland, which is growing every year with the arrival of more Chinese students.

"There are big celebrations for Chinese New Year in other parts of the North East and we felt that Sunderland definitely needed to have one of their own.”

The programme is also being supported by Sunderland’s Business Improvement District and chief executive, Ken Dunbar, who said he was “delighted” that the city was holding such an exciting event.

A lantern release will top off the fantastic event, which is expected to draw hundreds into the city centre.

Will you celebrate the Year of the Monkey in Sunderland today? The events are taking place from 1pm until 5pm.