8 highlights to look out for at this year's countdown party at Marina Bay

8 highlights to look out for at this year's countdown party at Marina Bay
PHOTO: AsiaOne

It is slightly over a week before we usher in the new year and if you haven't made plans to count down, perhaps this list might change your mind.

Times are a-changing and people want to do more than just watch fireworks on New Year's Eve - although that still remains a highlight without a doubt.

From music revellers to fitness enthusiasts, there's something for everyone at this year's Marina Bay Singapore Countdown 2017. It's expected to be bigger and better especially because the celebration area has now been stretched from Marina Bay to the Civic District (which includes notable buildings and spaces such as the Padang, Asian Civilisations Museum and adjacent buildings) as well as the Singapore River.

Photo: URA

Chief Executive Officer of URA, Mr Ng Lang said, "The community can be out early in the evening to enjoy the many attractions in the city before coming together at the Bay at midnight to watch the fireworks display and collectively usher in the New Year."

Party-goers can also extend their night out to the Singapore River where selected bars and restaurants will be offering New Year's Eve special menus and promotions, so that's something to partake in before catching the fireworks at midnight.

Here are 8 highlights to look forward to at this year's countdown extravaganza:

1. 3D projection on the façade of The Fullerton Hotel Singapore

For the third year running, the façade of The Fullerton Hotel Singapore will be illuminated with a brand new five-minute long projection display that transforms and highlights the unique architectural features of Singapore's 71st national monument with a spectrum of patterns and colours.

Members of the public can catch the colourful shows at 8pm, 9pm, 10pm and 11pm nightly from Dec 26 to 31.

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2. Exercise before the countdown

If your New Year's resolution is to keep fit and lead a healthier lifestyle, then this event is made for you. End the year with a clear mind by participating in a 90-minute Sunset Yoga Flow with Yoga Seeds at the Esplanade Park from 5.30pm to 7pm.

3. Music at empress

Music lovers can enjoy a free outdoor concert series at Empress Lawn, which is also the inaugural edition of Music@Empress organised by the National Arts Council. Fans of homegrown musical acts will be happy to note that there will be performances by local bands such as a capella group Vocaluptuous, pop rock and party tunes by The Common People, and post-acoustic covers and originals by the HubbaBubbas.

4. Free movie screenings

Head down to the Empress Lawn and Esplanade Park for a New Year's Eve date with your loved ones or friends. Between 7.45pm to 12 midnight, there will be back-to-back movie screenings under the stars. The films will be presented on an 8-metre giant inflatable screen.

5. Extended hours at key attractions

National Gallery Singapore, Asian Civilisations Museum, Victoria Theatre and Victoria Concert Hall will be extending their opening hours until 12 midnight on New Year's Eve. There will also be guided tours at the NGS and ACM.

Gardens by the Bay will extend the lighting hours of its conservatories, Supertrees and the festive Luminarie light sculptures until 1am on New Year's Day. And if you're still in the mood for Christmas, the attraction's Christmas Wonderland special will also to be available till midnight on New Year's Eve.

6. New Year's Eve concert headlined by Grammy award-winning artist Alicia Keys

You read that right. After all the hype over these past few months, R&B crooner and chart-topper Alicia Keys will finally be in town next week to count down with us. What better way to ring in the new year than with Keys' smooth vocals? The star-studded regional and local line-up also includes American rock outfit Hoobastank, Taiwanese popstar Rainie Yang, and more.

7. Shopping galore

For those who'd like to welcome the new year by shopping for new items, there will be two spots to visit: Marina Bay Waterfront Bazaar and Countdown Market. The bazaar will offer an array of artisan handicrafts, collectibles, fashion apparel and accessories, party novelties and lighted gadgets. Light refreshments will also be available at affordable prices.

At the "Countdown Market", shoppers will be spoiled for choice as there will be over 80 local craftsmen and food stalls to visit.

8. Four fireworks displays, with the fanciest one to show at midnight

The chosen artistic theme for this year's countdown is 'A New Dawn' - to represent new beginnings as the country embarks on its next 50 years, said Joseph Tan, head of programme management (music & planning) of The Esplanade Co Ltd.

And for the first time ever, witness a dance of lights, lasers and flames in the Bay right after The Fullerton Hotel Singapore projections on New Year's Eve as a prelude to the countdown extravaganza's iconic fireworks at midnight.

Beginning with the final facade show on The Fullerton Hotel Singapore at 11.54pm, the special countdown sequence to the new year will take place at 11.59pm.

Complemented by festive lighting in and around the Bay, these will all lead up to an eight-minute long Midnight Display, which integrates lasers, lights and flame effects for the first time. We caught a sneak peek of this and it was a spectacular sight. Keep your eyes peeled for this!

The Midnight Display is also choreographed to the song Glaciers, written by local instrumental rock band and Esplanade's Mosaic associate artist, In Each Hand A Cutlass.

ssandrea@sph.com.sg

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