CHINESE New Year celebrations in Sydney will be swooped on by a raging red 'Made in Lismore' dragon to welcome 2009.

In a coup for Lightnup Inc, the colourful beast is under construction in the Lismore Lantern Makers Workshop with a team of four under the direction of artistic director Jyllie Jackson.

The producer of the Lismore Lantern Parade is enthusiastic about the team being asked to take part on February 1 because it is the first time the famous parade is being held at twilight – perfect for the illuminated dragon.

“It is the first time they are using lanterns in the parade along George Street and Chinatown,” Ms Jackson said.

“It will be big with 2000 people taking part.”

Constructed on a bamboo frame with painted silk, the 7m-long dragonboat will ride on a truck and be a head-turner with its glam-red rhinestone eyelids, yellow eyes, red scaly body and blue beard, while being 'paddled' by three people.

Ms Jackson said Lightnup Inc was asked by Medibank Private to build the dragon after the director of the Chinese New Year Parade asked the Lismore company to take part.

Already its team has sent two pandas and 170 small lanterns to Sydney to be carried by schools and community groups.

“It has been a lot of effort but we've had fun making it all,” she said.

For this former Hong Kong resident the project was made a little easier because of the many Chinese festivals she has attended.

The team is now focused on the big project – the Lismore Lantern Festival on June 20 with the theme 'a place for optimism'.



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