Sooming Phang of Kotara feeds daughter Holly, aged 4, some noodles while enjoying Fathers day at the inaugural China Festival at the University of Newcastle. Picture: Simone De Peak Sooming Phang of Kotara feeds daughter Holly, aged 4, some noodles while enjoying Fathers day at the inaugural China Festival at the University of Newcastle. Picture: Simone De Peak
杭州桑拿

Sooming Phang of Kotara feeds daughter Holly, aged 4, some noodles while enjoying Fathers day at the inaugural China Festival at the University of Newcastle. Picture: Simone De Peak

Scenes from the inaugural China Festival at the University of Newcastle. Picture: Simone De Peak

Scenes from the inaugural China Festival at the University of Newcastle. Picture: Simone De Peak

Scenes from the inaugural China Festival at the University of Newcastle. Dong Tam Association Extreme Martial Arts demonstration. Picture: Simone De Peak

Scenes from the inaugural China Festival at the University of Newcastle. The Newcastle Chinese Association Dancers. Picture: Simone De Peak

Scenes from the inaugural China Festival at the University of Newcastle. In centre Phoebe Ulph 5yrs of Lambton with her face painted in a Chinese Opera Singer style sits and watches dancers perform. Picture: Simone De Peak

Scenes from the inaugural China Festival at the University of Newcastle. On left under the lantern Vanessa Lang 3yrs sits and watches dancers perform. Picture: Simone De Peak

Celebrity Chef Poh Ling Yeow during her cooking demonstration at the inaugural China Festival at the University of Newcastle. Picture: Simone De Peak

Celebrity Chef Poh Ling Yeow during her cooking demonstration at the inaugural China Festival at the University of Newcastle. Picture: Simone De Peak

THE University of Newcastle’s Callaghan campus was transformed into bustling downtown Hangzhou on Sunday, with visitors invited to sample Chinese cuisine, marvel at a dancing lion performance and participate in language, calligraphy and tai chi workshops.

The Confucius Institute’s inaugural China Festival was established with the aim to celebrate Chinese traditional and contemporary culture; increase understanding of China in the Hunter and encourage cultural interaction between students, staff and the community.

Event organiser Justine Gaudy – who hosted the city’s Red Lantern night markets – said the non-profit organisation’s main role was offering stand-alone Chinese language, tai chi and calligraphy courses to the public and teaching the language at the university and schools.

‘‘But there hasn’t been a lot of cross-cultural activities in Newcastle that bring the Chinese community and the non-Chinese community together to celebrate the Chinese culture,’’ she said.

‘‘This is about reaching into the community and letting them know more about the country and encouraging them to enjoy some activities that are part of the culture.’’

Ms Gaudry said about 2000 people attended yesterday’s events, with the most popular including cooking demonstrations by celebrity chef Poh Ling Yeow; paper cutting and dumpling making workshops; Chinese Opera Mask face painting and the Dong Tam Institute dynamic lion dancing and martial arts performances.

The event continues today and will be focused on providing an educational experience, with more 400 primary and middle school students from eight schools expected to attend alongside 200 university students.

The 2012 Young Australian of the Year Marita Cheng will speak about her inspiring career and life experiences.