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Dai Gum Loong to champion equality as gala spectacular planned, legs wanted

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Greater Bendigo’s new Imperial Dragon, Dai Gum Loong, will be a champion for equal opportunity following a decision by the Bendigo Chinese Association to allow both women and men to carry him.

Dai Gum Loong will make his debut in the 2019 Bendigo Easter Festival Bendigo Advertiser Gala Parade.

In Bendigo, traditionally women carry ‘female’ dragons and men carry ‘male’ dragons. Greater Bendigo’s previous two Imperial Dragons, Sun Loong and Loong, are male and Dai Gum Loong will be also.

Approximately 70 people are needed to carry him and a further 30 people are needed in reserve to swap with carriers to give them a rest when they need it along the parade route.

Bendigo Chinese Association President Doug Lougoon said the arrival of Dai Gum Loong presented an opportunity to create a new tradition for dragon carriers in Bendigo.

“The importance of supporting equality is not lost on the Bendigo Chinese Association and our members are pleased to welcome women to carry Dai Gum Loong in next year’s Gala Parade,” Mr Lougoon said.

“Although Dai Gum Loong represents a long and proud tradition for our city, he is also a 21st century dragon and it is important to the Bendigo Chinese Association that he is used to support modern values and expectations.”

To welcome Dai Gum Loong, a once-in-a-lifetime spectacle featuring a range of Chinese parading dragons is being planned for the Gala Parade.

Although important heritage-related permission is yet to be granted and restoration funding for some smaller parading dragons is still to be approved, the Bendigo Chinese Association and the Golden Dragon Museum are collaborating to bring out the maximum number of dragons to support the first appearance of Dai Gum Loong.

It is expected both original Imperial Dragon, Loong, and Sun Loong will lead the parade and introduce Dai Gum Loong to his new home and show him the way along the streets of central Bendigo.

It is expected that they will be supported by Yar Loong (Night Dragon), Gansu Loong (Dragon from Gansu), Ming Loong and Ping Loong (Bright and Peace Dragons), Siu Lok Loong (Little Happy Dragon), Choi Loong (Competitive Dragon) and Gwong Loong (Shining Dragon).

To power this amazing display of up to 10 dragons, approximately 320 people will be needed to carry them. Women will be able to carry Dai Gum Loong, Ping Loong, Siu Lok Loong and Gwong Loong.

Golden Dragon Museum General Manager Anita Jack said the 2019 Gala Parade would be a special moment in Bendigo’s history.

“I am so excited for Dai Gum Loong’s arrival and we thought there was no better way to welcome him than to plan this incredible celebration. It will be one of the best street parties Bendigo has ever seen,” Ms Jack said.

“To help make this moment memorable, we will needs lots of volunteers to bring our dragons to life. It will be a fun and rewarding job, but it will require an element of cardio fitness.”

Anyone wanting to participate in this incredible opportunity is encouraged to register at www.goldendragonmuseum.org

Dai Gum Loong is currently being made in Hong Kong. The frame of the dragon head has been constructed out of bamboo and more than 2,600 scales have been completed.

The restoration of Sun Loong’s scales is also taking place in Hong Kong under the watchful eye of Ringo Leung. More than 1,000 of Sun Loong’s scales have been restored so far. Restoration of his head, neck and tail is complete and has been done locally.

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