More time for River Hongbao next year

SINGAPORE - Next year's River Hongbao will stretch over a longer period so that more people can soak in the festivities at the annual Chinese New Year carnival.

In its 28th year, the event will be held for 11 days at the Floating Platform @ Marina Bay from Jan 29 to Feb 8. It ran over nine days this year. Organisers hope to attract more than 1.1 million visitors, slightly bigger than this year's turnout.

Explaining the extension, the chairman of the organising committee, Ms Low Yen Ling, said: "We've received feedback from Singaporeans (who said) that they'd love to visit (the carnival), maybe even visit a few times, and bring their extended family along." Ms Low is also the Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Social and Family Development.

The carnival will feature 28 large hand-crafted lantern displays, including an 18m-tall God of Fortune lantern. Other highlights include performances by the acclaimed Yunnan Opera Theatre and a handicraft street featuring jewellery, ethnic costumes and cultural products from China's Yunnan province.

At the Food Street, visitors can try Yunnan delicacies such as the "over-the-bridge" rice noodles, Pu'er tea-flavoured drumsticks and baked tea quail eggs.

The light-up ceremony will take place on Jan 29 with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong doing the honours. There will be two firework displays at the carnival - one during the ceremony and another during the Chinese New Year countdown on Jan 30.

Opening hours are from noon to 11.30pm daily, except on Jan 30, when it will close at 1am after the countdown. Admission is free.

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