It might still be four months away, but Easter in Bendigo in 2019 is shaping up to be bigger, brighter and yes, better than any other.

Arguably the highlight of the city’s bustling social and cultural calendar, Easter always serves up something special in our great city, and next year’s debut of the magnificent Dai Gum Loong promises to be something quite extraordinary.

First came the spectacular community led campaign to raise the necessary funds to create Dai Gum Loong, to purchase the accompanying and appropriate regalia and also undertake the all-important restoration of the community’s much loved Sun Loong.

Now, the decision to remove the gender based selection of helpers to carry our impressive male dragons in the parade is a welcome sign of the times.

Accordingly, the planned celebrations will require a record number of volunteers – both male and female, to help carry and display Bendigo’s collection of dragons, and that is also a good thing.

The Dai Gum Loong project has successfully brought together the three levels of government, an achievement usually far easier said than done, especially in the current tense political times in which we exist.

Make no mistake, the importance of this project to Bendigo and the broader community cannot be overstated.

It has united the business community, drawn broad support from service clubs, philanthropic organisations and the general community, and it has done so for one very good reason… it deserved to.

Bendigo’s rich cultural heritage and the contribution made by the Chinese community to our city, from its earliest beginnings through to today, provides a platform for the rest of us to show our appreciation and support.

The project ignited the collective imagination of thousands of supporters who willingly donated to the cause.

Easter 2019 will truly be a once in a lifetime experience, and not just for Bendigo.

The story of Dai Gum Loong and his famous ancestors is internationally regarded, and Bendigo is sure to experience an influx of visitors from near and far to witness the spectacle of multiple Imperial dragons winding their way through the streets of Bendigo, in a display not likely to be seen again.

And it’s worth noting, once Easter 2019 is over, the committee charged with organising the Bendigo Easter Fair Society’s 150th year of celebrations is already in place and working on yet another special event for Bendigo.

The best is yet to come.