Chinese New Year celebrations wow Sunderland crowds

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Dazzling displays drew in the crowds as Chinese New Year celebrations took place in Sunderland.

A series of performers marked the start of the Year of the Dog at The Bridges shopping centre.

Chinese New Year celebrations in starting in Sunderland's Market Square before heading into The Bridges, on Sunday.

Chinese New Year celebrations in starting in Sunderland's Market Square before heading into The Bridges, on Sunday.

The event kicked off with dragon dancing in Market Square before heading inside where traditional Chinese dancing, lion dancing and martial arts demonstrations took place.

It is the third time celebrations on this scale has taken place in the city after two businessmen - Ian Wong, owner of Asiana Restaurant and Harry Collinson of Collinson Jewellers - joined forces.

The showcase was compered by Sunderland’s Katie Bulmer-Cooke who said the event had been “well-received” by shoppers.

“There has been a great atmosphere throughout the whole day with large crowds. It’s been really successful and has been so energetic.”

It’s great we have have been able to celebrate one of the many cultures we have in Sunderland

Harry Collinson

Throughout the day visitors were given the chance to try their hand at Chinese calligraphy with a range of Chinese arts and crafts for children available including mask and dragon making.

Although Chinese New Year itself falls on 16 February, across Asia it is also celebrated up to two weeks after that date.

The event received support from Sunderland’s Business Improvement District and Gentoo as well as Sunderland College and Sunderland University students.

Mr Collinson said: “We started off in Keel Square, we were in the Winter Gardens last year, and we decided to move it to the Bridges this year.

“It all started with the lion dancing in Market Square before we came inside for the performances.

“There has been so much going on for visitors and it is just a great experience for the all the families and for children.

“It has been a great day with people arriving at 10am this morning waiting for everything to start happening.

“It’s great we have been able to celebrate one of the many cultures we have in Sunderland.

“Four years ago we were sat around discussing an event like this and since then it has grown year after year. It’s important we keep it going.”