Bendigo Gala Easter Parade| LIVE coverage

2.55PM: ANOTHER GRAND EVENT - WELL DONE BENDIGO!

The crowds are filing away now as the 2014 Bendigo Easter Gala Parade has come to an end.

Well done Bendigo.

Well done everyone involved!

Don't forget to check back soon to the Bendigo Advertiser website for our mega galleries capturing all the colour, action and festivities from the parade and the people who turned out to enjoy the event. Won't be long!

2.50PM: HERE'S HERE - HELLO SUN LOONG!

The crowd is cheering on Sun Loong...and his many legs!

Sun Loong is circling in front of the fountain as puffs of smoke go off.

It's a lap of honour and he's enjoying it.

Now he's snaking down Pall Mall to the delight of spectators. 

Just about every man and his dog has their iPhone out, snapping up shots of the famous dragon. 

The dragon is almost home now and the show is winding up.

Some people are starting to leave while others are following Sun Loong. 

UPDATE 2.45PM: COLOURFUL CHARACTERS

People are clapping at the vibrant dragons as they make their way along the parade route.

UPDATE 2.35PM: HERE HE COMES!!!!

Bendigo's Chinese links are being celebrated.

Sun Loong is snaking down View Street.

The excitement is building in the crowd.

Bendigo Advertiser photographer Jim Aldersey captured these pictures of Sun Loong making his way from the Bendigo Chinese Museum to the start of the parade route. Make no mistake... Sun Loong is the star of this show.

Click here to see the first pictures of Sun Loong.

UPDATE 2.30PM: GUESS WHO IS ON THE WAY?

The Bendigo Chinese Association is making its way down View Street carrying a banner saying: 'Thank you Bendigo'.

That can mean only one thing... the dragon must be on his way!!!!!!

UPDATE 2.25PM: PROUD DISPLAY OF DEFENCE HISTORY

Bendigo's proud defence history is on show.

Yep... I hear bagpipers coming down View Street.

UPDATE 2.20PM: LOOK WHO IS ON HIS WAY!!!!!

It's the one everyone turns out to see Sun Loong. He's sneaking in the back way ready to dazzle the Bendigo Easter Gala Parade!

UPDATE 2.15PM: PARADE PICKS UP SPEED!

Go karts are speeding past with a DJ playing from The Zone float as children show off their skating skills.

UPDATE 2.10PM: PARADE GETS A LITTLE FREAKY

A neon-lit disco truck is rolling past with kids on rollerblades following - they're from a lazer tag group and in the party spirit.

Now a skeleton, freaky scarecrow and gothic dancers roll by in a truck filled with monsters. 

I think they're a bit confused - it's Easter, not Halloween!

But they are certainly dancing around with attitude.

Never fear, bubbles lighten the mood. Following the gothic group is the Down Syndrome Group, in a truck with a glittery disco ball and wearing pink hats and bunny ears. They are blowing bubbles out to crowd. Beautiful.

UPDATE 2.10PM: WIZARDS ON SHOW

It's the wizard of oz.

Theatre clubs are having a ball.

BUPA has embraced a bumle bee theme with a king and queen bee waving to the crowd

UPDATE 2.05PM: PLENTY OF THEATRE IN PARADE 

The Bendigo Youth Theatre members are gracing the crowd in their colourful costumes - having a chat to people in character

UPDATE 2PM: PARADE KEEPS DANCING ALONG

Performers are out in force - bellowing songs and jumping and dancing to drums and chimes.

Meanwhile, two blokes are having a moving table tennis contest. They're going well.

Now the Bendigo & District Concert Band is playing and doing the salsa - talk about multi-tasking.

UPDATE 1.55PM: PICTURES TELL A 1000 WORDS

Bendigo Advertiser photographer Peter Weaving delivers the first gallery of pictures from this year's Bendigo Easter Gala Parade.

To see the pictures, click here

UPDATE 1.50PM: DISNEY ROYALTY JOINS THE PARADE

Minnie Mouse is riding on the back of a ute while belly dancers perform on a float.

UPDATE 1.45PM: CAR GIVES EVERYONE A LIFT!

There were gasps of appreciation from the crowd as a car driver showed off his car's suspension, lowering and lifting the vehicle.

School children are hi-fiving people and handing out Easter treats.

UPDATE 1.40PM: PLENTY OF COLOUR

A colourful dragon is snaking its way up Pall Mall as people standing in the crowd compete for the best vantage points.

Children are sitting on their parent's shoulders to get a better view. 

UPDATE 1.30PM: WHEELY GOOD SHOW

Men on tall bicycles are performing stunts while the Chinese lions work their way down view street.

The Bendigo Advertiser has five photographers covering the parade - don't forget to check our website later this afternoon for our mega galleries showing all the people, colour and atmosphere of the grand parade.

UPDATE 1.15PM: PLENTY OF PEOPLE TURN OUT

The Bendigo Easter Gala Parade is rolling along with a huge crowd enjoying the atmosphere.

A rock band is pumping out the tunes from the back of a truck, fire sirens are going off and there's plenty of cheering from the crowd.

CREATIVE: Peter Weaving gets a wide angle view of the parade.

CREATIVE: Peter Weaving gets a wide angle view of the parade.

UPDATE 1.05PM: OFF AND ROLLING!

Bendigo Mayor Barry Lyons leads the way as the Bendigo Easter Gala Parade hits the streets of Bendigo. 

UPDATE 12.55PM: PARADE START JUST MINUTES AWAY

Bendigo residents and tourists are not letting the cold weather dampen their spirits - people have come out in force pumped for the parade. 

The team of dragon legs were each having a heart-warming pie at 12.30pm to energise them for the walk ahead.

Friends Brendan Furness and Richard Pell have each been carrying the dragon for 10 years.

Mr Pell said it was "a fun thing to do". 

"I have kids who love seeing me do it," he said.

Check out our gallery of some of the first people to line up for the parade here

UPDATE 12.45PM: EASTER PARADE PROVING POPULAR ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Great to see people turning to social media to spread the good word about the Bendigo Easter Gala Parade.

Mathew Buttrey wrote: ''Geared up for the parade''.

Annie Williamson tweeted: ''Enjoying the Easter Parade @ Bendigo!''

Federal Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters tweeted: ''So looking forward to joining the Bendigo Chinese Association Ping Dragon Team in Gala Easter Parade.''

UPDATE 11.45AM: CHINESE DIGNITARY PRAISES BENDIGO, PARADE

Koby Wong, vice consul-general from the Consulate General of the People's Republic of China in Melbourne, says there is great potential for Bendigo to strengthen its links with China and promote tourism.

Read Mr Wong's comments here

Gallery: Chinese precinct comes to life 

NEW ROUTE FOR BENDIGO EASTER GALA PARADE

City of Greater Bendigo councillor Rod Fyffe explains why a new route has been chosen for the 2014 Bendigo Easter Gala Parade.

Read Cr Fyffe's comments on the new route here

WHAT'S IN STORE FOR THE GRAND PARADE?

So, what's the Bendigo Easter Gala Parade going to be like? Check out our gallery from the 2013 event for an insight into what you can expect later today.

Click here to see pictures from the 2013 Bendigo Easter Parade

UPDATE 9.30AM: Families started arriving in Bendigo's CBD from 5am to stake their 'favourite spot' for the Bendigo Easter Gala Parade.

Journalist Hannah Knight and photographer Peter Weaving have been out this morning to meet some of the 'early starters'.

Read the story here 

EARLIER: Happy Easter!

It's time for the Bendigo Gala Easter Parade.

So, the all important question... does the Bureau of Meteorology think Mother Nature is going to rain on our parade?

Well, Mr BOM, what's the verdict?

''Partly cloudy. Patchy fog in the southeast early this morning. Winds westerly 15 to 20 km/h becoming light in the late afternoon. Daytime maximum temperatures around 19.''

PERFECT!

THE ALL IMPORTANT TIME SCHEDULE & ROUTE

The Bendigo Gala Easter Parade will start at 1pm.

Psssst... we hear there's already people taking up positions so make sure you don't leave your run too late!

The parade will start from the roundabout near the QEO gates/Rifle Brigade Hotel.

The route heads down View Street, turns left into Pall Mall, along McCrae Street, Chapel Street to finish at the Chinese precinct in Bridge Street.

CLAN LOVES EASTER PARADE TO THE MAX

Today's parade will be a special occasion for the famous Clan MacLeod Pipe Band of Bendigo.

It's their 60th anniversary and they will lead the parade to mark the occasion.

Bendigo Advertiser journalist Emma Schenk sat down with Max Morris who has seen them all to talk about why this day is so special.

Read Max's story here 

THAT WAS THEN: Max Morris in days of old.

THAT WAS THEN: Max Morris in days of old.

THIS IS NOW: Max Morris gets ready for the 2014 Gala Parade. Picture: BRENDAN McCARTHY

THIS IS NOW: Max Morris gets ready for the 2014 Gala Parade. Picture: BRENDAN McCARTHY

MELBOURNE FAMILY HAPPY TO PLAY KEY ROLE IN OUR PARADE

Meet the Louey family from Melbourne. 

They will play a key role in the Bendigo Gala Easter Parade today.

To find out what this is, click here to read their story.

The Louey family from Melbourne. Picture: THE AGE

The Louey family from Melbourne. Picture: THE AGE

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