Festive shopping carnivals move inside

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 February, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 08 February, 2007, 12:00am

More Lunar New Year fairs will be held indoors this spring, with organisers saying that the few open-air venues are becoming too crowded to hold the traditional festive markets.

A Lunar New Year shopping carnival will be held at the Convention and Exhibition Centre for the first time. Organisers expect to attract 100,000 visitors.

Meanwhile, a 48-hour non-stop market will take place inside the Kwun Tong APM shopping mall in the lead up to the first day of the Year of the Pig.

'Victoria Park used to be so crowded that people found it hard to stop to buy things,' said Corence Wong, general manager of Neway International Trade Fairs, which will organise the Convention Centre shopping carnival from Tuesday to Saturday.

'We are hoping to create a new venue for Hongkongers interested in Lunar New Year fairs - one that's sheltered from the sun and the rain,' he said.

The fair will take up a 6,000 square metre exhibition area with more than 200 booths featuring everything from flowers to jewellery and fortunetelling.

'In our first year, we are being cautious not to make it too big,' Mr Wong said. 'And we are not really focused on calculating costs as we are trying to please every visitor.'

The APM shopping mall hopes to repeat the success of last year's Lunar New Year indoor bazaar with its fair from Monday to Saturday.

Taking up a 10,000 sq ft area, the fair will include a non-stop market next Friday and Saturday.

It will also invite a world-class performer on the guzheng - a Chinese form of the zither - to play in a 'marathon music show' on Lunar New Year's eve.

The Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong interviewed 1,452 people by telephone last month on their Lunar New Year plans.

Asked to choose their favourite from a number of traditional Lunar New Year activities, 46 per cent of poll respondents answered 'visiting Lunar New Year fairs'.