Imperial dragon Sun Loong will again perform solo at next year’s Bendigo Easter festival, as the push to bring a new people’s dragon to the city continues.
Fundraising for his replacement – Dai Gum Loong – is building momentum, with Golden Dragon Museum general manager Anita Jack hoping to see the two dragons paraded in the 2019 Easter parade.
Ms Jack said the decision to have Dai Gum Loong arrive in 2019 was about making sure the right dragon was chosen to come to Bendigo.
“We have a long way to go and have been having conversations with dragon makers to decide who will make the dragon,” she said.
“We want to take our time and make sure he is the right dragon for Bendigo, so it will probably be 2019 when we see Sun Loong and Dai Gum Loong perform together.
“Bendigo has always had the best examples of parading Imperial Dragons and we want to encapsulate that with this dragon.”
Chairman of the Sun Loong 750 campaign Richard Guy urged people to help bring a new people’s dragon to Bendigo.
“My father and his friends were proud to help bring Sun Loong to Bendigo and hand him to the people of Bendigo,’’ he said.
“The same will happen with this dragon. It will belong to the people of Bendigo, which is very exciting.”
The Sun Loong 750 campaign will raise $750,000 to fund three projects – replacing Sun Loong with new dragon Dai Gum Loong, preserving and repairing Sun Loong and purchasing the regalia and costumes to accompany Dai Gum Loong.
To date about $180,000 has been raised meaning Dai Gum Loong’s first appearance is now planned for the 2019 festival.
In the meantime Sun Loong will undergo as much conservation as possible before next year’s gala parade.
“We are looking at what conservation we can do with Sun Loong so he is stable and ready for next year,” Ms Jack said.
“It can be a slow process because it is all handwork but we will absorb that through the museum. Funds from the campaign will not be used.”
In the next six months, the Sun Loong 750 committee will also continue its fundraising.
People who want to donate can do so at any Bendigo Bank branche or by visiting the Golden Dragon Museum. You can visit www.daigumloong.com.au
Donations coming in for Dai Gum Loong
Like others who have donated to the Sun Loong 750 campaign, the decision to be involved was easy for the Guy Family and Strategem.
To date, about $180,000 has been donated to the Sun Loong 750 campaign which will replace Sun Loong and help in his repairs and conservation.
Donations of $50,000 from the Guy family and $5000 form the Strategem Community were announced on Thursday morning.
Richard Guy, whose father chaired the committee to bring Sun Loong to Bendigo, said he was pleased and proud to make the donation.
“When I was invited to be chair of fundraising committee it is incumbent upon you to (also) donate and it was an easy decision to say yes to both,” he said.
“My family is very pleased and proud to be able to make a contribution. We tried very hard to imagine an Easter festival without a dragon and it can't be done,” he said.
“I remember as a five-year-old boy clutching my father’s knee as firecrackers went off and Loong came down the street.”
Strategem Community Foundation chairman Chris Harrington said it was an easy decision to give back to the community.
“Strategem was certainly happy to help out with a project that has such a strong link to the Bendigo community,” Mr Harrington said.
“Our community foundation aims to support projects with strong community links and this is certainly one of those.
“The foundation of our business is Bendigo and we are more than happy to put money back into the community here.”
The Sun Loong 750 campaign aims to raise $750,000 to repair Sun Loong before his retirement and create his replacement, Dai Gum Loong. To find out how to donate, visit www.daigumloong.com.au