Lunar New Year in St Albans

Chines New Year Festival #1 – Alfreida street, St Albans
Sunday 5th January 2014

Every year for the past 16 years St Albans has come to life with the lunar new year festivities taking place in the closed off Alfreida street. This was the first year I attended the St Albans festival as previously we were always busy performing at either the Springvale, Richmond, Crown or Russell street events (see further down for the dates and locations of this year’s Lunar festivals). It was so great to see all the local traders and the community come together to enjoy the culture and celebrations as they welcome the new year – approximately 70, 000 people were expected to visit the St Albans festival this year.

Opening ceremony

In the opening ceremony we were told by the MC that this is the year of the green wood horse and in 2014 if you’re thinking of travelling or starting that business, now is the time to do it! We also told to watch out for an unexpected romance. 😉 The festival was opened by some special guests including Bill Shorton and some representatives from the Victorian Multicultural Commission, Vietnamese TV and John Watson from the Brimbank Council. There was loud applause when Bernie Finn promised that this was the year that will finally see the removal of the St Albans level railway crossing – let’s keep an eye out for that. Loud firecrackers and vibrant lion dancing brought the main stage to life and then we were off to check out the wonderful aromas that filled the street. Baby D received a red envelope from the beautiful women dressed in traditional attire, score!

The food

All the stalls had fresh food ready for the taking and I thought it was all quite reasonably prices compared to other festivals I’ve been to! All up we spent around $50 pigging out on:
bbq skewers, salt and pepper soft shell crab,
beef wrapped in betel leaves, shrimp pancakes,
Vietnamese iced coffee and sugar cane drink and some Vietnamese doughnuts.

It was such a nice way to spend a Sunday as the sun shone down on us. There were over a dozen rides and games that filled one half of the street creating such a cheerful atmosphere as you walked from one stage to the other. Singing and dancing by the local talents entertained the masses. Food, entertainment, family and great weather, what more could you ask for!

If you missed out last weekend, not to worry! – the St Albans Lunar festival was just the first of the Chinese New Year offerings this year in Melbourne. See the below table for the upcoming dates and locations or you can check out their official website here. Congratulations on such a well run event! See you at the next one!

Upcoming Chinese New Year events

Location Venue Dates Time
Richmond Victoria St, North Richmond Sun, 19 January 2014 10 AM – 10 PM
Springvale Buckingham Avenue, Springvale Sun, 26 January 2014 9 AM – 9 PM
St Albans St Albans Town Centre Sun, 5 January 2014 10 AM – 9 PM
Box Hill Market St and Main St Sat & Sun 1 – 2 February 2014 1 PM – 1 AM
Chinatown Russell St Sun, 2 February 2014 10 AM – 10 PM
Glen Waverley Kingsway, Glen Waverley Sun, 9 February 2014 11 AM – 9 PM
Footscray Hopkins Street, Footscray Sun, 2 February 2014 10 AM – 10 PM

Crown Casino will also run their 12th annual Hawkers Bazaar along the Yarra with many stalls and stages from
Thursday 30th of January – Sunday 2nd of February 2014 and spectacular fireworks displays at midnight on Thursday 30th of January and 9pm on Saturday 1st of February.

If you’re hungry for more check out fellow bloggers Kenny and Arielle to see their adventures at last Sunday’s Lunar festival 🙂

Rewind Dance Crew doing rocking the CNY stages over the years


Melbourne Mondays – St Kilda Festival 2013 and Lunar New Year

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Rewind performing in the Dance Zone arena, Wes ordering a hot dog with the lot from the Grill Kings, Daniel & I in front of Luna Park, lunch at Dahon Tea Lounge in South Melbourne, dinner at Kotaraya in Elsternwick

Dance.Lunch&Dinner

St Kilda Festival – DanceZone (Sea Baths carpark area)

The weather was perfect yesterday for the 2013 St Kilda Festival and the first day of the Lunar New Year of the snake! Rewind performed from 1pm until 1.45pm at the DanceZone arena alongside special guests, Kstar and Mute Crew. Initially we were worried that the crowd was a bit sparse but once the music got going and MC Steve took over the mic, the huge crowds came in to watch! It was so great to see these crews continuing to inspire the community to get involved through their love of dance. If you are interested in dance classes these crews teach in various locations around Melbourne teaching 1 year olds right through to adults!

Dahon Tea Lounge – 111 Cecil St, South Melbourne

After performing at the DanceZone arena and stopping at a hot dog stand we made our way through the crowds with Baby in his pram and walked back to our car to have lunch somewhere a little more comfortable for a mamma and Baby ;P You know I never really paid much attention to prams in shopping centres or out and about, but since having a baby I really admire the courageous mums who get out there despite constantly have people cutting in front or not acknowledging that they may need a little more space than normal to get by.

We had lunch just off Clarendon street at a Filipino tea lounge called Dahon. It was nice to relax and sit down with a cold rockmelon drink and refreshing iced tea. I ordered the garlic rice with chicken adobo and pork tocino skewers which I chomped down quickly as I was so hungry from performing earlier. For dessert we had halo halo – a Filipino shaved iced dessert which is a different version of the Malaysian cendol or the 3 coloured drinks. It was nice and big and full of toppings. If you are not familiar with the Philippine cuisine then I suggest you ease into it buy ordering the rice and skewer combo and by trying the rockmelon iced drink 🙂

Kotaraya Asian Multi cuisine – 237 Glenhuntly Rd, Elsternwick

After just chilling at Dahon for a while and having some rest time with Baby, we made our way to the east side for a dinner to celebrate the Lunar New Year with hubby’s side of the family. Filipinos celebrate the western new year on January first but with hubby’s family being Malaysian/Chinese we headed to Kotaraya to have traditional Lunar New  Year dishes like Yu Shang! The first time I had this dish was in KL – see previous post! We had about 8 different dishes to share and they were all so tasty! Especially a fish dish – I didn’t get to take I picture of everything or even look at the menu because baby was unsettled and needed to sleep). I really want to come back here again so I can get the names of the dishes we ordered for you, I think they were part of a special new year’s menu. The desserts were colourful as you would have seen in other restaurants of this type and very sweet and we finished off with a juicy, cold fruit platter.

All in all even though it was a little tiring, we had a great day with family and friends. With a friend suddenly passing away  last week, it just reminds me that making time for your loved ones should always be at the top of your list of things to do. Life is short and you can never shower anyone with too much love so if you haven’t seen you mum, dad, cousin, friends in a while then why not call them up for a catch up? 😉

Have a great week! Love.Live.Laugh <3