EASTER is huge in our region - and this year was bigger than ever.
For the first time ever, all of Bendigo's processional dragons, including original dragon Loong, paraded together at the weekend.
There were also music, markets, shows and more to keep everyone entertained.
The Bendigo Advertiser was on scene for the weekend's action - scroll down to relive it all.
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Looking forward: The Easter long weekend wasn't even finished before organisers were looking ahead to the 2020 event. It is slated to be another significant occasion because it marks 150 years of the festival.
Easter Sunday coverage:
- 'Bendigo was just amazing': Organisers reflect on the 2019 Bendigo Advertiser Gala Parade.
- See the faces in the crowd at the Bendigo Addy Gala Parade | Photos: Were you among the 80,000-strong crowd? Maybe our photographers snapped your photo.
- Gala Parade celebrates culture and diversity in Bendigo: Groups from all over Bendigo have joined the imperial dragons at the Bendigo Advertiser Gala Parade.
- Imperial dragon Sun Loong performs at his last Easter parade in Bendigo: Bendigo's imperial dragon Sun Loong has paraded for the final time at the Bendigo Advertiser Gala Parade.
- Night dragon Yar Loong makes a special appearance to honour Dai Gum Loong: Yar Loong has joined the imperial dragons at the Bendigo Advertiser Gala Parade to welcome the new dragon Dai Gum Loong.
- Oldest imperial dragon Loong welcomes Bendigo's new dragon Dai Gum Loong: The world's oldest imperial dragon has made a rare appearance at the Bendigo Advertiser Gala Parade.
- All the excitement from the 2019 Bendigo Advertiser Gala Parade: Take a look at all the colour and photos from the historic parade - the first for new dragon Dai Gum Loong and the last for Sun Loong.
- Families flock to Bendigo Advertiser Gala Parade: New dragon Dai Gum Loong attracted admirers from near and far to be part of an historic event for the city.
- Dai Gum Loong's first parade a special day for carriers: Meet some of the people who had the very special privilege of carrying Bendigo's new dragon in his first Easter parade.
- Dai Gum Loong makes Easter parade debut: Bendigo's spectacular new dragon has participated in his first Easter parade, taking over from retiring predecessor Sun Loong.
- Buchanan and Sharpe claim open Dragon Mile honours | Video, Pictures: The win marked the fourth straight Dragon Mile title for Whitney Sharpe, and the third first place in the event for star athlete Andy Buchanan.
- Crowds gather for Bendigo Advertiser Gala Parade: If you want a front row seat for the parade, you have to get in early. Hundreds of people have been lining the parade route for hours in advance of the event.
Watch the parade here, or scroll down for more coverage from the weekend (please note, it might take a few moments for the videos to load)
Part one - the gala parade kicks off:
Part two - the dragons wins their way through Bendigo:
Part three - the dragons return to the museum:
Part four - the return, continued:
Easter Saturday coverage:
- Bendigo celebrates 2019 Easter torchlight procession | Photos, Video: Thousands of people have lined Pall Mall and View Street to watch all of the colours and lights of the torchlight procession.
Watch it here:
- Awakening the Dragon event draws a crowd ' Photos: The Dai Gum San Precinct was full of colour and noise for the awakening of the imperial dragons Loong, Sun Loong and Dai Gum Loong.
Watch it here:
- Hula-hooping (and more) a hit at Easter Festival: Kids, families and more were out in force at Rosalind Park on Saturday. Hula-hooping was just one of the many things to do, from a petting zoo to an Easter egg hunt. Kids were loving the options at the Connected Circus, which included specially adult-sized hoops so parents could join in.
- Barbecues at the ready after busy Good Friday: 30 kilograms of sausages, 300 hamburgers, 20 kilograms of chicken products. Rotary raised $3600 on the first day of the Bendigo Easter Festival, and the stall was ready for another day. This time members of the Women of Note choir took the barbecues to support Rotary.
- Here's a taste of the action from Rosalind Park. Members of the Central Victoria Lion Team perform the Long Fan Unification Dance.
- Many hands make an artwork: From Sri Lankan paintings, to Hazara weaving. The artwork of many cultures of Bendigo was on show at the Emerge Cultural Hub in Rosalind Park. Artist Akhila Fernando was even there to help visitors create an artwork of their own, with hundreds of others.
- Music and more at Bull Street Festival: Punters were keen to hear the sounds of music in Bull Street on Saturday. Before acts began crowds enjoyed pop-up stalls, colouring and even ferret races.
Good Friday coverage:
- Dai Gum Loong officially brought to life after eye dotting ceremony: Dan Beck has tears in his eyes and a huge smile on his face as he tries to describe what he has just taken part in. The 45-year-old helped bring Bendigo's new dragon Dai Gum Loong to life as part of the eye dotting ceremony on Friday afternoon.
- Fair attracts hundreds of bookworms once again: Year-round, Y Service Club members prepare for annual Easter book sale by collecting donations, sorting them and storing them. And their hard work is appreciated, with hundreds having already attended the sale at Mundy Street's Tom Tweed Stadium within the first few hours of the weekend-long event.
- Rattling tins for the Good Friday Appeal: Volunteers are out and about in Bendigo collecting money for the annual Royal Children's Hospital Good Friday Appeal.
- Easter egg hunts start in Rosalind Park: The hunt has begun for roughly 200,000 Easter eggs in Rosalind Park. Hungry children searching for chocolate began sifting through hay at 10am and would continue for another 43 hunts over two days.
- Conservation works prepare Loong for 2019 Easter parade:Stitches you can barely see, patches of calico and lightweight adhesives that won't leave a trace are among the tools a committed team of volunteers used to stabilise the city's oldest surviving imperial dragon, Loong.
Scroll down for some of your top Bendigo Easter questions, answered, and to read our pre-Easter coverage.
Q&A: What can I expect at the festival?
There is more than enough to keep you busy during the next few days!
Kick off the Easter spirit with the Vision Australia Easter Egg Hunt at Rosalind Park.
The event is on both Good Friday and Easter Saturday.
On Saturday and Sunday, the music-filled Bull Street Festival will keep you entertained between 2pm and 10pm.
Enjoy the Rotary Art and Craft Market between 9am and 4pm on Friday and Sunday.
On Saturday night, the Bendigo Torchlight Procession will light up the CBD and culminate with fireworks.
And on Sunday, return for the Bendigo Advertiser Gala Parade!
Bendigo's oldest surviving imperial dragon, Loong, has been given permission to parade in this year's Easter festival.
He is one of the city's four largest dragons, measuring 29 metres long. Sun Loong is more than 100 metres and was the world's longest imperial dragon until his successor, Dai Gum Loong, came along this year.
The rarely seen night dragon, Yar Loong, is 34 metres long and will also be parading.
The parade starts at 1pm.
- Want more information about the events on at the weekend? Click here for our comprehensive wrap.
Q&A: Where can I park?
There will be free parking in two multi-storey car parks, at Hargreaves Street opposite the library, and at the corner of Edward and Queen streets.
The McCrae Street car park will be closed until 6pm on Sunday.
The Queen Elizabeth Oval car park will be closed from Saturday at 6am to Sunday at 6pm.
Bicycle parking is available in Rosalind Park from 10am to 5pm daily.
Q&A: Where are the road closures?
6am Wednesday until 11pm Sunday
- Sidney Myer Place between Pall Mall and Rosalind Park
6am Thursday until 6am Monday
- William Vahland Place between Pall Mall and Rosalind Park
- Mundy Street between Pall Mall and Lyttleton Terrace
- Hargreaves Street between Mundy Street and Bendigo Bowling Centre
5pm Thursday until 6pm Sunday
- Bridge Street
- Park Road
- Farmers Lane
6am Saturday until 6am Monday
- Bull Street between Pall Mall and Hargreaves Street
4pm Saturday until about 6pm Sunday
- View Street
- Pall Mall
- McCrae Street
- Chapel Street
- Bridge Street
There will be various detours so please follow the road signs.
Q&A: How are the bus routes affected?
Information from the City of Greater Bendigo
The below bus services will be affected from 4pm Saturday until 6pm Sunday to accommodate the Bendigo Torchlight Procession and Bendigo Advertiser Gala Parade:
Route 5 Kangaroo Flat-Huntly via Bendigo Station
- From Huntly will detour via McCrae Street, Baxter Street, Hargreaves Street, Chapel Street, Myers Street, Mitchell Street to Bendigo Train Station
- From Bendigo Train Station will detour via Mitchell Street, Queen Street, Short Street, High Street to Kangaroo Flat via normal route
Route 50 Epsom Station-Bendigo Station
- From Epsom will detour via Barnard Street, Don Street, Myrtle Street, Hargreaves Street, Mitchell Street to Bendigo Train Station
- From Bendigo Train Station will detour via Mitchell Street, Queen Street, Myrtle Street, Don Street, Barnard Street to Epsom via normal route
Route 51 Bendigo Station-Eaglehawk via Jackass Flat
- From Eaglehawk will detour via Lucan Street, Arnold Street, McCrae Street, Baxter Street, Hargreaves Street, Chapel Street, Myers Street, Mitchell Street to Bendigo Train Station
- From Bendigo Train Station will detour via Mitchell Street, Myers Street, Chapel Street, Hargreaves Street, Baxter Street, McCrae Street, Arnold Street, Lucan Street to Epsom via normal route
Route 52 Bendigo Station - Eaglehawk via Arnold Street
- From Eaglehawk will detour via Holmes Road, Arnold Street, Baxter Street, Hargreaves Street, Chapel Street, Myers Street, Mitchell Street, Queen Street, Myrtle Street, Don Street and Barnard Street
- From Bendigo Train Station will detour via Mitchell Street, Queen Street, Myrtle Street, Don Street, Barnard Street, Arnold Street to Eaglehawk via normal route
Route 53 Bendigo Station - Eaglehawk via Eaglehawk Road
- From Eaglehawk will travel detour via Eaglehawk Road, Don Street, Myrtle Street, Hargreaves Street, Mitchell Street to Bendigo Train Station
- From Bendigo Train Station will travel detour via Mitchell Street, Queen Street, Wattle Street, Hargreaves Street, Myrtle Street, Don Street, Eaglehawk Road to Eaglehawk via normal route
Route 54 Bendigo Station-Maiden Gully via Calder Highway
- From Maiden Gully will detour via View Street, Barnard Street, Don Street, Myrtle Street, Hargreaves Street, Mitchell Street to Bendigo Train Station
- From Bendigo Train Station will detour via Mitchell Street, Queen Street, Myrtle Street, Don Street, Barnard Street, View Street to Maiden Gully via normal route
Route 55 Bendigo Station - Kangaroo Flat via Golden Square
- From Kangaroo Flat will detour via High Street, Myrtle Street, Hargreaves Street, Mitchell Street to Bendigo Train Station
- From Bendigo Train Station will detour via Mitchell Street, Queen Street, Myrtle Street, High Street to Kangaroo Flat via normal route
Route 60 Bendigo Station-East Bendigo via Strickland Road
- From East Bendigo will detour via McIvor Road, Myers Street, Mitchell Street to Bendigo Train Station
- From Bendigo Train Station will detour via Mitchell Street, Myers Street, McIvor Road to East Bendigo via normal route
Route 61 Bendigo Station - La Trobe University via Strathdale
- From Strathdale will detour via McIvor Road, Myers Street, Mitchell Street to Bendigo Train Station
- From Bendigo Train Station will detour via Mitchell Street, Myers Street, McIvor Road to Strathdale via normal route
Route 70 Bendigo Station-Strathfieldsaye
- From Strathfieldsaye will detour via Williamson Street, Myers Street, Mitchell Street to Bendigo Train Station
- From Bendigo Train Station will detour via Mitchell Street, Myers Street, Williamson Street to Strathfieldsaye via normal route
Please note: The main inbound bus stop at Mitchell Street will be moved up one block to Chemist Warehouse. Main outbound bus stop will be moved to Mitchell Street between King Street and Wills Street at Captain Snooze. Pall Mall and McCrae Street bus stops will be closed all day.
Bendigo Railway Station bus stops will operate as normal.
Q&A: Any hot cross buns news?
A few of the delicious treats in central Victoria are now award-winning!
The Good Loaf Sourdough Bakery and Cafe has won back-to-back national awards for its hot cross buns at the hotly contested Australian Bakery Championships.
More Easter news:
Check out some of our stories from the lead-up to Easter 2019 here:
- Meet the women leading the way for Dai Gum Loong
- Bendigo groups prepare for Easter Festival events
- All imperial dragons to parade for first time in Bendigo's history at 2019 Easter Festival - and women can carry new Dai Gum Loong
- Loong, Bendigo's oldest surviving imperial dragon, to welcome next generation
- Bendigo's new dragon Dai Gum Loong unveiled ahead of 2019 Easter festival
- Vision Australia ready for Bendigo Easter egg hunt
- Bendigo woman still reaping the benefits of Good Friday Appeal 72 years on
- Bendigo makes a difference at the Royal Children's Hospital with Good Friday Appeal 2019
- Calls for extra dragon legs ahead of Easter parades
- Good Loaf wins best hot cross buns award at Australian Bakery Championships
- Elmore Bakery awarded for hot cross buns
- Eaglehawk Bakery wins gold for hot cross buns
Still want more?
Consider it done! Check out some of last year's coverage from Easter below.
Easter Monday stories, pictures and videos:
- Council raises concerns with CFA over tankers parade exit: THE City of Greater Bendigo is concerned with the speed a fire truck exited the Easter Gala Parade on Sunday after it was called to a fire, and has raised the matter with the CFA which is reviewing the incident.
- Art exhibition raises $25,000:Around $25,000 was raised for the Rotary Club of Bendigo through the Easter Art exhibition.
- Golfers aim for a hole-in-one:Golfers had their chance to win big at the Rotary Club of Kangaroo Flats Easter hole-in-one competition.
- Maldon celebrates with a grand procession: The historic streets of Maldon were lined with excited spectators for the towns annual Easter Fair Grand Procession.
- Good old-fashioned country fun at 148th Rheola charity carnival: It was warm, dry and a tad dusty at the Rheola charity carnival on Monday but a record crowd of 3500 poured through the gates at the Rheola reserve, returning estimated record gate receipts of $16,000.
- Check out this years Bendigo Advertiser Gala Parade in photos: The Bendigo Advertiser Gala Parade was not only a chance to see Sun Loong on one of his final marches through the CBD, but a chance to revel in the atmosphere of Easter in Bendigo.
- Fire truck races through gala parade route on way to call-out: The truck came through a lot faster than the others in the parade, one witness said. Everyone thought it was part of the parade and we were surprised that it kept going.
- Easter parade captures young peoples imaginations: The Bendigo Advertiser Gala Parade was not only a chance to see Sun Loong on one of his final marches through the CBD or to revel in the atmosphere of Easter in Bendigo. It was also a chance to capture the imaginations of thousands of children who lined the streets.
- Dragon delight for Matthew Clarke | Photos, Videos: Matthew Clarke has put the finishing touches on a strong Victorian athletics season by winning the 2018 Bendigo Bank Dragon Mile on Sunday.
- See whos at the Bendigo Addy Gala Parade on Easter Sunday: The faces in the crowd at Sundays parade! Follow the parade LIVE here:
- Sun shines on Saturday of Easter weekend in Bendigo | Photos, video: Take a look at how residents and visitors enjoyed the Bendigo Easter Festival on Saturday morning.
- See how people are celebrating Easter in Bendigo: We share readers photos of their Easter fun in the city.
- Celebrating Easter 2018 in Bendigo: Pictures from Saturdays events: Our photographers have been busy, capturing faces and fun times in Bendigo on Saturday. Take a look at some of their snaps here.
- All the action from Saturdays Easter egg hunt in Bendigo: Photos from the second day of the Vision Australia event; 2018 marks the first time the popular hunt has been held over two days.
- Bendigo's Dai Gum San Precinct was filled with drums, dragons and dancers for Sun Loong's awakening: Photos and a video that was recorded live at the awakening held in the Dai Gum San Precinct.
- Live music lovers united in Bull Street: The street was converted into a rock concert, check out some photos and videos of all the action.
- 2018 Bendigo Easter torchlight procession | Photos, Video: Truly a night to remember. Dont worry if you missed it, we captured every moment of the night.
- Easter celebrations on Good Friday draw a crowd | Videos: Rosalind Park is a hive of activity as Easter celebrations in Bendigo get underway.
- Good Friday Appeal 2018 well underway in Bendigo | Photos, video: Scores of volunteers are again at intersections, parks and public places throughout Bendigo, collecting money for the Royal Childrens Hospitals Good Friday appeal.
- Bendigo mother's plea to give generously to Good Friday Appeal: At just five-and-a-half months old, Brydee Whiteman was diagnosed with Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukaemia. Her mother Skye is encouraging people to give generously to the Good Friday Appeal.
- A walking tour of Bendigos Chinese history: Bendigo has a rich Chinese history, celebrated during the Easter Festival. So why are there no longer Chinese buildings around the city? The Bendigo Advertiser went on a walking tour to find out what happened to our Chinese heritage.
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