CNY festival aims to pull in younger shoppers

CNY festival aims to pull in younger shoppers
Chinatown yesterday all dressed up to welcome the Year of the Rooster.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

A flea market featuring locally made products and second-hand items is one of the new additions to this year's Chinese New Year festival at Chinatown, which starts this weekend.

The market, to be held on Jan 14 and 15 in a restaurant on the rooftop of People's Park Complex, is an attempt by organisers to draw more youngsters to the festival, which tends to attract an older crowd.

Also for the first time, a section of the annual festive street bazaar, with 440 stalls this year, has been allocated to 12 entrepreneurs, who will hawk unique treats such as braised duck shabu burgers and "lucky lucky money balls", meatballs filled with melted cheese to represent gold.

The festival draws an average of two million visitors each Chinese New Year, said Dr Lily Neo, the adviser to Jalan Besar GRC, under which the precinct falls.

"Chinese culture... is a good heritage we need to pass on to the next generation. Involving and engaging the youth is our way of reinforcing and strengthening these traditions," said Dr Neo at a media preview of the Chinatown light-up yesterday.

President Tony Tan Keng Yam will throw the official switch for the light-up on Saturday.

As with past years, visitors can buy traditional snacks such as pineapple tarts from the stalls spread out across Pagoda, Smith, Sago, Temple and Trengganu streets.

Dr Neo said security measures have also been stepped up.

For the first time, some 40 tonnes of concrete blocks will line roads during major events such as this Saturday's ceremony, the Chinese New Year countdown and Chingay parade. This is to prevent vehicles from entering areas where large crowds are expected to congregate.

Traditional elements of the festival that have been kept include an international lion dance competition, now in its 10th year, which will see 17 top troupes from 10 countries vie for the title of "king of the lions".

The precinct will also be lit up by 5,500 handcrafted lanterns, the largest number made for the festival.

The centrepiece is a 13m-tall, 100m-long rooster lantern perched at the junction of Eu Tong Sen and Upper Cross streets.

The lanterns, which use environmentally friendly LED lights, were designed by 14 students from the Singapore University of Technology and Design.

One of them, 21-year-old Loo Jun Wen, said the biggest challenge was juggling schoolwork and the project.

The aspiring architect said he wanted to explore the realities of designing a public display and having to work within budget and time. His team also designed a large screen in Eu Tong Sen Street to display festive greetings from the public.

Other highlights include guided tours of Chinatown and the Chingay parade on Feb 12.

Outram Park MRT station and an MRT train will be decked out with rooster motifs and traditional Chinese couplets from Jan 15 to Feb 11.

The light-up ends on Feb 25.



A special section of the festive street bazaar, with 12 entrepreneurs selling unique food such as braised duck shabu burgers and meatballs filled with cheese.



A flea market, the YHFlea: Come Lepark edition, with over 100 curated local brands and independent designers.

Expect local handcrafted items, pre-loved items, local music performances and graffiti art.

The flea market will be held on Jan 14 and 15 from noon to 8pm at the restaurant Lepark, on the rooftop of People's Park Complex.

This article was first published on Jan 5, 2017.
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