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As the year of the red monkey grows closer is Manchester one of the best places in Europe to welcome in the New Year. A big claim but can Manchester pull this off?

Of course they can! Whilst the Chinese New Year celebrations officially begin on the 8th, the fun and games in Manchester start on the 4th February 2016.

Between Thursday and Saturday the whole of the front of St Ann church in St Ann’s square will feature a cutting edge light show interspersed with traditional art work and film to tell the story of the history of the celebration, created by local artist Stanley Chow, this will be an unforgettable audio-visual experience for all ages.

For those feeling a little peckish around St Ann’s square, look for a huge red opulently decorated marquee as local favourites Yang Sing and Rice Bowl will be offering tantalizing food and drink.

Those “in the know” will have heard of the world-famous “Tsingtao Dragon” beer (pronounced Ching Dow), formally an illegal Chinese Mafia pastime, was beer ping-pong. Keep your eyes peeled for a special pop up beer tent with a ping-pong playing robot. Challengers will have the opportunity to win gift ranging from t-shirts to a full-sized ping-pong table, but start practising now as this robot does not like to be beaten.

On New Cathedral Street, a food village comprising of colourful food carts will be set up so visitors can experience the traditional food and drink of the orient offering authentic sushi, sticky rice and other traditional favourites.

On Sunday 7th February 2016, in Albert Square, the atmosphere gathers momentum when at 12’ o’clock a massive 172 foot dragon dances to music before starting its parade at 1pm. Between 2pm & 5pm, the excitement moves to China town as music, dancing and story-telling takes to the stages before the fireworks at 6pm.

Around Market and Exchange Street’s over the festive period, a huge golden dragon will oversee events. Get a picture of him, tweet it to #chinesenewyearMCH for a chance of winning a £500 voucher to spend in Manchester airport.

Parkour 'monkey runners' will be demonstrating their skills with breath-taking stunts while the RareKind Hong Kong street graffiti artists ‘Rainbo’ and Uncle colour the streets with huge creations reflecting the tradition stories of the Chinese New Year.

For those visiting Manchester’s Arndale centre, this will be transformed into myriads of craft workshops as children will be encouraged to create their own monkey related masks and cards. A great deal of effort has been put in to ensure there will be something for everyone to enjoy or marvel at as over 90,000 people are expected to descend on Manchester city centre over the Chinese holiday period.

Already we have dispatched orders across the country in readiness for the big night as Chinese families make preparations for New Year’s parties, doing it in Epic style.

In the meantime, enjoy the fireworks from the Year of the Horse.

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