Chingay returns to Orchard Rd as interactive night fiesta

THE annual Chingay parade is returning to Orchard Road for the first time since 2007.

But unlike previous occasions, spectators will not be confined to the seating gallery to watch the floats and performers pass by in the street procession.

Instead, they will be able to mingle with the performers and take photographs of themselves while standing on any of the 13 floats at a street carnival.

A section of Orchard Road will be closed to traffic for the event on the evening of March 1.

"This is the first time we are having a night fiesta," said Mr Ang Hak Seng, chief executive of the People's Association, the parade organiser. "Spectators will have opportunities to interact with performers at this mega party and enjoy a wide range of performances."

Spectators from previous years had given feedback that they wanted to get closer to the performers and floats.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his wife will attend the carnival, and admission is free. It will take place from 7pm to 10pm on the stretch of road between Ion Orchard and Ngee Ann City.

The Chingay parade is an annual street procession to mark Chinese New Year and is celebrated by all races.

There will be 2,000 local and international performers, such as street buskers, cosplay artists and cultural troupes from 13 countries, at this year's event.

Visitors will be able to sing along to familiar National Day tunes such as Chan Mali Chan, Di Tanjong Katong and Home, alongside 2,000 community singers in front of Paragon shopping mall.

About 100,000 "We Love SG" flowers made of recycled plastic bags will be given to visitors to exchange among one another, as an expression of good wishes for Singapore's jubilee year.

Fireworks will light up the sky above the Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza at 9.30pm.

Four lanes along Paterson Road and two lanes along Orchard Boulevard, next to Ion Orchard, will also be closed for the floats to enter the carnival. The road closures will be from 5.30pm on March 1 to 2am the next day.

The parade moved from Orchard Road to City Hall in 2008 for two years when the shopping street underwent a makeover.

Hoping to attract bigger crowds, the People's Association moved it to Marina Bay in 2010.

Just 1,500 of the 50,000 tickets for the main parade shows at the F1 Pit Building on Feb 27 and 28 are still available. The month-long event will see the parade visiting different places in the heartland until March 28.

This article was first published on February 12, 2015.
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