Chinese New Year celebrations highlight plight of endangered animals

Eagle lantern illuminates the night skyGiant illuminated models of a zebra, panda, eagle and hippo lit up the night sky as they were paraded through the centre of Tunbridge Wells as part of Chinese New Year celebrations.

The events celebrated the communities of Tunbridge Wells coming together but the Year of the Tiger was also used as the theme to highlight the planet’s endangered species.

At the Museum and Library more than 700 people of all ages made Chinese paper lanterns and endangered animal flags. 

Visitors to Trinity were treated to a theatrical performance and the Gallery was turned into an underwater world in an exhibition by more than 300 local schoolchildren and community members.

Chinese tiger lantern is paraded through the centre of the townThe day ended with a lantern parade including more than 1,200 people, which set off from Trinity and finished at St Barnabas Primary School with a winter barbecue, children's disco and samba music and dancing from Bloco Fogo. At one point, the illuminated procession stretched the length of Camden Road.

Community Development Manager Dawn Grant said: “The Tunbridge Wells Arts Partnership was thrilled with the turnout for Chinese New Year celebration. It was great to see an event on this scale in Tunbridge Wells. The atmosphere was fantastic and visually the parade was stunning – the artists and community members had created wonderful work. We would like to thank everyone who took part, including all of our volunteers and partners, it shows what can happen when organisations work together.” 

The event was organised and funded by the Tunbridge Wells Arts Partnership, which includes Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, Kent County Council, Town & Country Foundation and Trinity Theatre.