March is the month the Hilltops Region comes alive to the colour, vibrancy and traditions of the Chinese culture when thousands gather in Young for the Lambing Flat Chinese Festival.
An event that celebrates the contribution of the Chinese to Australia, the festival also ties into the town’s early gold rush days, circa 1860s, when Chinese miners came to the diggings to try their luck.
Those planning to attend the Saturday, March 21 event are promised to be kept entertained with a huge line-up of activities on offer throughout the day.
For the market lovers, a bigger and better Young and Region Farmers Markets is being held from 9 am at Anderson Park as well as the Makers Markets in the Millard Centre from 10 am.
The Lambing Flat Sculpture, Wood and Big Art Exhibition will showcase the work of talented local artists at the Young Town Hall from 9 am.
The Lambing Flat Folk Museum is a great place to delve into the history of the Hilltops Region, and they have extended trading hours for the festival and will be open from 9 am to 7 pm.
From 4 pm the official Festival will commence in Anderson Park with special performances by the Ballowrie-Bummana Wiradjuri Dancers, the ANU Classical Chinese Ensemble and the ever-popular traditional Chinese Prosperous Mountain Lion Dancers.
Local students will take to the stage in Future Faces which is an opportunity for Hilltops youth to perform in front of an audience and showcase their musical talents.
While enjoying entertainment on the main stage it will be hard to resist the tempting aromas coming from the many food vendors showcasing a range of local and international cuisine.
The Gold Trail Re-enactment Group will be presenting a Government Camp, demonstrating what life would have been like on the gold fields during the 1860s.
This year sees the introduction of an exciting addition to the festival program; a canon firing demonstration being held at 6:30 pm.
One of the many highlights of the festival is of course the Lantern Parade which will commence at 7:20 pm. Everyone is invited to participate in the parade.
To that end, free lantern-making workshops will be on offer at the Hilltops Library Young branch from 10 am on the day or you can collect a lantern before you join in the parade.
2020 is the Chinese Year of the Rat, symbolizing prosperity and fertility, and to acknowledge this local school children and artists have been involved in workshops to create three large rat lanterns to lead the parade.
Hilltops Mayor Brian Ingram says he is looking forward to the festival.
“The Lambing Flat Chinese Festival pays tribute to a very important part of our history and celebrates the significant positive impact the gold rush and subsequent multiculturalism has had on the development of our region,” he said.
“I look forward to participating in the many activities happening on the day,” Cr Ingram added.