Following the success of the inaugural festival in 2019, Willoughby City Council's Lunar New Year celebrations return in 2020 with an exciting and immersive Chatswood Year of the Rat Festival!
Running for 20 fun-filled days (20 January – 8 February), the jam-packed festival program will feature over 20 events which are expected to attract over 50,000 visitors.
The Year of the Rat signifies the re-starting of the 12 Chinese Zodiac animals and where better to celebrate than Sydney's little Asia. Festival-goers will be transported on a cultural journey of food and entertainment across mainland China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea, Taiwan, Japan and other destinations, without ever needing to leave Sydney!
Feng shui masters believe there is a giant dragon coiled around Sydney and its head is in Chatswood, which has made it a hub for the Asian community.
"It's fantastic to see our diverse local community coming together to celebrate the Chatswood Year of the Rat Festival. From our vibrant dining scene to markets, cultural experiences and art by local and international artists, this festival has something for everyone. We look forward to welcoming many new visitors to Chatswood," said Cl. Gail Giles-Gidney, Mayor of Willoughby City Council.
Festival-goers will be able to get up close and personal with thousands of 'rats' which will take over the city. The striking public artwork entitled 'Chatswood Rat Attack' will feature rat silhouettes adorned with a custom-designed blue and white chinoiserie style print showcasing Australian and Asian flowers by Bruce Slorach.
The innovative rat trail will wind its way through Chatswood CBD with the swarms of the decorative rats climbing all over the buildings. Giant scenes at key locations such as The Concourse, Chatswood Place and Chatswood Interchange will provide plenty of eye-catching moments.
2020 program highlights include:
Golden Market (9am to 9pm, Thursdays and Fridays): Meander through Chatswood Mall as it is transformed into a replica end-of-year market commonly found in cities across Asia, with 35 stallholders selling flowers, lucky bamboo, decorations and delicious New Year delicacies. Be entertained by Chinese Opera, K-pop, traditional dances and calligraphy.
Lunar New Year Day at The Interchange (Saturday, 25 January): Visit the Chatswood Interchange to enjoy lion dancers, lucky Buddha, Chinese drummers and Kung Fu demonstrations.
Chinese New Year Celebration Day (Saturday 1 February): Welcome in the Year of the Rat at one of Sydney's largest Chinese New Year celebrations, which is in its 22nd year and is bigger than ever with a stage in Chatswood Mall and at The Concourse. Attracting over 8,000 visitors, the celebrations include magic shows, face changing and Chinese Opera.
Lunar New Year Twilight Parade (Saturday 8 February): Join the fanfare as the Chatswood CBD comes alive with a traditional Lunar New Year street parade. Dance along with some of the country's top lion and dragon dancers, drummers and marching bands.
"Lucky Chatty" Lunar New Year Dinner with Adam Liaw (Wednesday 5 February): Join author, television presenter, and Asian cuisine expert Adam Liaw for a delicious dinner at Chatswood's General Chao to ring in the Lunar New Year. Feast on a festive menu of auspicious and creative dishes specially designed by Adam and Son Sewoo, Executive Chef of General Chao.
Throughout the three-week festival, complementing the array of culinary delights, other activities such as traditional lion dancers, food tours, art exhibitions, and Chinese Opera will also be on the menu.
For the full program and to plan your visit, please see www.visitchatswood.com.au/lny2020