Crowds ignore the rain to see in year of the snake
THE Lakeside Arts Centre was awash with bright colours, music, dancing and all things Oriental yesterday.
The venue was hosting Nottingham's biggest Chinese new year celebrations, which included the opportunity to meet the Notts Anaconda Dragon Boat team and an up-close look at the team's dragon boat.
The event culminated with a huge fireworks display at 6pm.
Before the fireworks there was a programme of events on an outdoor stage next to a big screen, including the Notts and Derby 7 Star Praying Mantis Kung Fu School performing a lion dance, a dance from Beeston Fields Primary School and performances of contemporary Chinese music.
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Nicole Redshaw, 23, of Sandiacre, and her friend Gemma Blake, 23, of Derby, went along to the celebrations because they were both born in 1989, a previous year of the snake.
Nicole, a shop worker in Nottingham, said: "This is the first time either of us have come to a Chinese new year celebration, but we thought we would this year because we were both born in the year of the snake.
"It is all very colourful and different. We're looking forward to the fireworks and we like the performing arts, so the events on the stage are something we enjoy."
Dave Foster, 36, and his friend Andy Gore, 30, both of Long Eaton had brought their young sons along to see the performances and fireworks.
Mr Foster said: "It's good to get out of the house on a wet Sunday like this and is something different for the little ones to see and do.
"One of my friends said the fireworks were always good here, so that's mainly why we have come along."
Scores of people also turned out at Beeston Square for a Chinese new year extravaganza on Saturday, again despite the soggy conditions.
Revellers enjoyed a lion dance, martial arts demonstrations and an appearance from the town mayor.
Stefan Mairhofer, 29, of Portland Street, Beeston, said: "I've been looking forward to it. I've not celebrated it before but I definitely think it is a good thing. It's a nice event for little kids."
Ronald Cooper, 84, of Abbey Road said there should be more cultural events in Beeston.
He said: "You want more things like this. It brings culture to the place."
And Ruth Chadwick, 16, of West Bridgford was taking part in a ju jitsu demonstration.
Ruth, who attends West Bridgford school, said: "It's exciting. I've been doing it for five years. The Chinese culture is really interesting."