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Entertainment, Food & Beverage

Lanterns, food, shows galore at River Hongbao

Event at The Float @ Marina Bay will be bigger than last year's
January 12, 2013
By: Jessica Lim
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Lanterns, food, shows galore at River Hongbao Workers making adjustments to a giant lantern in the shape of an urn. This year's River Hongbao lanterns were put together by 38 craftsmen from China flown here to work on the project. -- PHOTO: MARK CHEONG FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

THE annual River Hongbao will return next month to welcome the Year of the Snake with more lanterns and food stalls.

Held at The Float @ Marina Bay, the nine-day festival - in its 27th year - runs from Feb 8 to 16 and will showcase more than 1,200 lanterns, up from last year's 1,000.

The main highlights are a 1.2m-high and 30m-long lantern bridge where people can get a better view of the activities, as well as 12 zodiac lanterns each 3m tall - double the height of last year's lanterns.

The lanterns were handcrafted by 38 craftsmen from China who were flown here to work on the project.

Visitors to the free event can also grab a bite at 45 food stalls featuring local and Guangdong delicacies like grilled quail's eggs, up from last year's 40. There will also be amusement rides, fireworks, nightly shows featuring performers from China and Taiwan, as well as souvenir stores.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will grace the event as guest of honour on opening day.

More than 100,000 people are expected to turn up each day, said chairman of the River Hongbao 2013 organising committee Alex Yam, who declined to reveal the total cost.

The event attracted just over a million visitors last year, with a record 1.2 million visitors achieved two years ago when the festivities stretched over 13 days.

But it is not a numbers game, said Mr Yam, who is an MP for Chua Chu Kang GRC. "We're not here to break records, we are here to provide the best possible Chinese New Year experience for the public," he said.

This year, visitors can also submit their personal vignettes of Chinese New Year at a booth at the festival, or to roving memory collectors. This is part of The Singapore Memory Project, a national movement led by the National Library Board that aims to capture and document memories related to the country.

All memories are posted online at SingaporeMemory.sg.

This year's River Hongbao is organised by the Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations, Singapore Press Holdings, Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Singapore Tourism Board and the People's Association.

The opening hours are from noon to 11.30pm daily, except on Feb 9, when it will close at 1am after the Chinese New Year countdown.

limjess@sph.com.sg

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