Norwich’s Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust (HEART) is calling on city centre businesses to let dragons take over their shops! As part of the Norwich Dragon Festival (10-23 February 2014), HEART, organisers of the festival, are inviting shops and cafés to participate in an exciting competition which will see special dragon menus and shop-window displays across the city.

Businesses can let their imagination run riot by either creating a fun and fantastical dragon-themed window display for the festival, or can warm up their customers with a fiery dragon-themed special menu (please note, no dragons should be harmed or consumed!).

All shops and cafés need to do is to email their plans to [email protected] and have their windows and menus in place for the week beginning 10th February 2014. Judging will take place during the festival, and the winning entry in each category will be offered a free bespoke training session on the Norwich Ambassador Scheme for up to 15 members of staff (worth up to £750).

Look out for special dragon-themed menus during the festival from Hot Chip, the Mustard Coffee Shop and the Maids Head Hotel, and creative window displays at Ye Old English Sweet Shop, Anteros Arts Foundation, Norwich Cathedral Shop, Maids Head Hotel and Komikku comic book store. Lord Somerleyton, owner of Hot Chip, supports the Norwich Dragon Festival and said: “Get some dragon fire in your belly, and slay some delicious HOT CHIPs with a fiery chilli dusting!”

The Maids Head Hotel are working with Magdalen Gates Primary School to create dragon models which will be on display throughout the hotel’s public rooms during the festival and visitors will be encouraged to vote for their favourite. The hotel is also offering a dragon-themed menu throughout the festival and a dragon package for overnight stays.

Christine Malcolm, General Manager, the Maids Head Hotel said: “Our dragon-making competition with Magdalen Gates Primary School is the first project in a new partnership with the school. We will be developing activities with the staff to help the students learn about Norwich’s history and traditions. We are really looking forward to the Dragon Festival and hope to see lots of visitors in the Maids Head viewing the children’s dragons and voting for their favourite.”

The Norwich Dragon Festival 2014: Warming Up Winter takes place from 10-23 February, and features over 70 dragon-related activities and events over two weeks, including half-term. Dragon-seekers of all ages will enjoy dragon performances, quests and tours, films, competitions, arts and craft activities, puppet shows, dragon trails, storytelling, talks, exhibitions and displays.

Organised by Norwich’s Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust (HEART), with support from the Norwich Business Improvement District (BID), The Forum, and Norwich Town Close Estate Charity, and venues around the city getting involved, the festival includes a wide range of events themed around dragons, to promote heritage to a broad audience during the post-Christmas depths of winter. Dragons have been a heraldic symbol closely associated with the city of Norwich since the Middle Ages and today dragons are still visible across the city’s architecture and feature in many city celebrations. The first two Norwich Dragon Festivals ran in 2009 and 2011, with the latter attracting 75,000 visitors and generating an economic impact on the local economy of £400,000.

Madeleine Coupe, Projects Development Officer of Norwich HEART, and co-ordinator of the festival, said: “‘We’re very excited about the forthcoming Dragon Festival. There are so many different organisations from across the city involved, it really is going to be a citywide event! We would love fun and fantastical dragons to be found in all corners of the city, and are inviting shops and cafes to participate in an exciting competition. If you run a shop or café, then Shop Window Dragons is your chance to get involved and let your imagination run riot.”

Stefan Gurney, BID said: “Norwich Business Improvement District (BID) is proud to be supporting the 3rd Norwich Dragon Festival. The festival will enliven and add to the vibrancy of the city and we encourage all businesses to embrace this amazing event by getting creative and entering the shop window and menu competition. We have seen how effective citywide events are at bringing thousands of people into Norwich, so get involved! This is an excellent opportunity for local businesses to really get involved with the festival, and we look forward to seeing a diverse range of dragon-inspired creativity throughout the city in February.”

Businesses interested in the competition should send details of their display or menu to [email protected], and they will then be entered into the competition.

For more details about the Norwich Dragon Festival, visit or pick up a brochure, or follow on Twitter at@NorwichDragons, @NorwichHEART and #NorwichDragonFestival, or on Facebook at Norwich HEART or Norwich Dragon Festival.

 We can promote your business every week on the Iceni Post!