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Newcastle Lantern Walk a major success

Newcastle Lantern Walk1
This year’s Light up Newcastle Lantern Walk celebration of Chinese New Year was a major success attracting some 20,000 people.
The event was organised the Rotary Club of Newcastle, with the support of 16 local Rotary Clubs. Maree Gleeson from the Rotary Club of Newcastle was the Event Director.
This year through the sale of red lanterns and toy monkeys, funds were able to assist the Newcastle Mission to Seafarers with construction of a new kitchen at the Seafarers Centre to feed the 15,000 visiting seafarers, and the Newcastle Maritime Centre with a new café to provide a sustainable income source for our maritime museum.
Attendees were entertained by dancers, lion dancers, musicians and singers and remarkable performances by the dragon boats and tug boat ballet on the harbour. This was topped off by spectacular fireworks.
The glow of the red lanterns at dusk, the afternoon’s entertainment and fireworks were the result of $63,000 sponsorship from 11 local corporations: APP, Confucius Institute, Doito, Greater Building Society, Hunter Water, Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group, Pacific Swallow, Port of Newcastle, Port Waratah Coal Services, PriceWaterhouseCooper, and Svitzer, and a grant from Newcastle City Council (NCC).
Several organisations also assisted by pre-purchasing lanterns in bulk (GHD, Hansen Yuncken, Cadence Consulting) and decorating Honeysuckle Drive. Thirty seven local businesses provided in-kind support valued at over $53,000. Particular thanks go to A1 Audio, Coates Hire, JR Richards and Johnson Marine Salvage. The Herald was the media sponsor.
Thanks to the event managers from Initiative Sport, the website was regularly updated and Facebook was a crowd favourite.
Promotion was extensive across the social networks and major news stories were included in The Star and Hunter Business Review, on ABC Radio and 2NUR-FM, and e-newsletters from sponsors, Hunter Business Chamber and HunterNet.
Deputy Lord Mayor of Newcastle, Councillor Michael Osborne, welcomed Consul Li Zhi from the Consulate of the Peoples Republic of China to Newcastle to open the lantern walk and lead the sponsors in the ceremony of the lion dancers. The event once again showcased Newcastle to China with telecasts by CCTV Beijing.
The economic impact of the event on the Honeysuckle restaurants and businesses was significant and estimated to be over $1 million.
The event was made possible with the 355 volunteers from 16 Rotary Clubs and support organisations, 318 free entertainers from 18 organisations, the corporate sponsors, a grant from NCC, and the people of Newcastle who bought a lantern or monkey, it was a wonderful way to herald in the Year of the Monkey.