Throughout the Easter weekend, people could be heard asking after Sun Loong.
When was he due to make an appearance, they asked one another in the days preceding the gala parade.
Watching the imperial dragon parade through the city’s streets is a tradition for Beryl Saville, 89, and her descendants.
“I think he’s marvellous,” Beryl said.
“We’ve always gone and seen him.”
In her opinion, Sun Loong is “still going alright.”
She believes the 47-year-old dragon has got a few more Easter parades ahead of him before he’s fit to retire.
Providing Sun Loong sustains no irreversible damage during this year’s festivities, Sun Loong 750 committee believes he has about a year left in him.
Zaebien McQueen was hopeful Dai Gum Loong, Sun Loong’s replacement, would be just as good.
“I hope they do honour the tradition,” the 15-year-old said.
He said hearing that Sun Loong would soon retire ‘kind of hurts’.
“It’s something you grow up with,” Zabien said.
Though appreciative of performances and appearances by Sun Loong’s friends, it was the much-loved imperial dragon the crowds were longing to see.
The gala parade starts at 1pm today.
It took about four hours to rouse Sun Loong on Saturday.
Associations from throughout Australia and abroad came to Bendigo to perform the awakening of the dragon, which was this year extended to accommodate all those who were keen to participate.
People had two opportunities to bear witness to the festivities. The first session ran from 11am until about 12:45pm, followed by performances from 2pm until just after 4pm.
Bendigo’s Dai Gum San Chinese Precinct was full of eager onlookers.
The crowds were treated to performances by groups from Melbourne, Sydney, Cairns, Singapore and Hong Kong.
In some instances, the open space was transformed using elaborate props.
Viewers found themselves transported to the foot of a cascading waterfall with one performance, in which a playful lion relieved a fish of a bouquet of flowers.
Another daring performance saw lion dancers suspended on a set of platforms, while a rather vocal rooster that featured in one of the acts was a hit with the younger members of the audience.
The Bendigo Chinese Association thanked all those who had travelled to Bendigo to contribute to the city’s Easter celebrations.
The Sun Loong 750 committee is seeking the community’s assistance to raise the $750,000 needed to preserve Sun Loong and to buy a new dragon and attendant processional regalia.
To donate to the campaign, click here.