Colourful snake set to draw a crowd

By Aaron van Delden

A giant snake will take centre stage during a celebration of the Chinese new year in Wanganui on Saturday.

To mark the beginning of the year of the snake, Mainstreet Wanganui and the local branch of the New Zealand Chinese Association are putting on a variety of cultural demonstrations, activities and performances between 10am and 2pm at Majestic Square.

Mainstreet Wanganui marketing manager Elise Goodge said local artist Pat Cush had been signed on to design a snake, which will be drawn in chalk on the pavement outside Mint Cafe & Bar.

"To complete it, we will need loads of people to come down and colour it in," Ms Goodge said.

There will be stalls from Bento Sushi, Beijing Restaurant, the Magic Wok, Auri Korean and Japanese Kitchen Wa, and Ms Goodge is inviting people to head down to Majestic Square to sample traditional Chinese, Korean or Japanese New Year treats, including dumplings, Chinese tea, pork buns, sushi and chow mein.

Ms Goodge said Chinese migrants were a significant part of Wanganui's history.

There were also many migrant business owners in the River City.

She said this event would bring the Chinese celebration to the wider community.

International students at UCOL, Wanganui High School, Collegiate and Girls' College had been encouraged to join in the celebrations. Ms Goodge said children attended the inaugural event last year, having learnt about Chinese New Year.

Mob karaoke, where a bunch of singers sing the same song at the same time, which is "huge" in China, Ms Goodge said, would take place at 1pm, with prizes for standout performers and groups.

Those who follow the snakes-and-ladders trail on the day will go in the draw to win a prize pack.

The Lunar New Year was officially celebrated on February 10. For the Chinese, it marked the beginning of the year of the snake, a thoughtful and charismatic creature and shrewd.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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