Northampton Market Square will come alive this Sunday 1 March when the town celebrates Chinese New Year.

Traditional dragon and lion dances, singing, acrobats and martial arts demonstrations will light up the Market Square alongside a food market with a variety of Southeast Asian foods on offer including Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese and Malaysian.

The free event, which will take place between 11am and 3pm, has been organised by the local Chinese community with the support of Northampton Borough Council and the University of Northampton.

The celebrations will feature a programme of entertainment throughout the day on the Aspers Stage, sponsored by Aspers Casino.

Entertainment for all of the family will include performances from the Chinese Acrobatic Company, Kung Fu demonstrations, a rope dance contest and chess challenge, alongside information about and presentations from Chinese community elders and the Chinese Supplementary School.

Children attending the event are also encouraged to make a Chinese lantern and bring it along to enter into a competition which will be judged at the university stand at 1pm.

Harry Mau, co-owner of the Oriental Garden restaurant and on the organising committee of the celebrations, said:
“The colours for the Chinese New Year celebration are red, black and gold and we would love youngsters to design their own lantern and bring it along for judging. The lantern competition will be judged by a panel and prizes will be given for the top three designs.”

The full timetable for the day is:

11am                     Traditional lion and unicorn dance
11.30am               Welcome to the Chinese New Year Spring Festival Celebration
11.45am               Chinese community entertainment programme
1pm                       Interval and lantern competition
1.15pm                 Chinese community entertainment programme
2.30pm                 Traditional lion and dragon dance
3pm                       Close

David Stratford, Aspers general manager and sponsors of the entertainment stage, said:
“We are delighted to be hosting the Chinese New Year entertainment stage as this is our opportunity to give something back to the local Chinese community with which we have had such a strong relationship since we opened in Northampton in 2008.”

Councillor David Mackintosh, leader of Northampton Borough Council, said:
“After months of preparation we’re looking forward to celebrating Chinese New Year with Northampton’s Chinese and South-East Asian communities who have all come together to put on this exciting event for people across Northampton to enjoy.”