Norwich Dragon Festival back

The hugely popular Norwich Dragon Festival is back by popular demand following 2009's successful event - and the programme has now been launched.

More than 60 events – over half of which will be free - will take place at more than 30 Norwich venues from Saturday, February 12 to Sunday, February 27.

Each event will be linked to the symbol of the dragon and celebrate its role in the heritage and culture of Norwich.

The festival is being coordinated by Norwich Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust (HEART), whose communications manager Christina Lister said: 'We are so excited to be bringing back the festival by popular demand.

'The events programme has doubled in size since 2009 thanks to the creativity, passion and hard work of countless staff and volunteers and the partnership and support of many organisations putting on events.

'Almost 50 events are free of charge and all are guaranteed to brighten up the cold and dark winter days. With such a varied events programme we think there is something for everyone and now is a great time to start planning your festival itinerary.'

Family-oriented events will include art and craft activities, puppet shows, performances, re-enactments, film, open buildings, workshops, talks, and exhibitions.

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Around 30 local organisations are involved in the festival, including the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts at the UEA. Its marketing manager Sally Goldsmith said: 'We are delighted to be part of the Dragon Festival, a fantastic celebration which brings together the best of Norwich's venues for two weeks of exciting events for the local community.

'We have two wonderful 'dragon beasts' in our permanent collection at the Sainsbury Centre and we will be making them the focus of our half-term events for families.

'From Tuesday 22 to Sunday 27 families will be able to call in and make a dragon and explore the gallery with artist-designed activity booklet packed with trails, fun facts and art challenges. It's all free and promises to be lots of fun, so we hope people will come along.'

Chapelfield shopping centre in Norwich is screening free films and running pavement art and carnival costume workshops.

Simon Wake, its assistant marketing manager, said: 'The free events at Chapelfield are designed to entertain families during the February half-term holiday whilst they enjoy city's fantastic mix of shopping and historic landmarks.'

The first ever Norwich Dragon Festival ran from January 31 to February 22 in 2009 and was attended by about 22,000 people.

One hundred staff were involved, plus 89 volunteers and 29 partner organisations, and there were around 40 events in over 15 venues across the city. The Dragon Festival won the EDP Norfolk Tourism award for Best Marketing Initiative in 2009.

The full programme of the second Norwich Dragon Festival has launched online at

? Are you putting on a festival in Norwich next year? Call reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email