• Sat
  • Aug 30, 2014
  • Updated: 4:25pm

Kids get a street they can call their own

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 07 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 07 October, 2007, 12:00am

childrenChildren will be treated to a whole thoroughfare of booths and sideshows, while restaurants will have stands to sell food and drink to revellers

The Lan Kwai Fong carnival has been putting smiles on people's faces for six years - and it's not just the people who come along to enjoy the fun who are grinning: The businesses behind the stalls have plenty of reasons to be cheerful too.

The carnival atmosphere and the sheer number of people pouring into the entertainment district over the course of the weekend are a recipe for healthy profits for the shops and restaurants at the heart of the festivities.

No one is more keenly aware of the marketing possibilities of the carnival than Toys 'R' Us which is this year targeting the families heading to Lan Kwai Fong for the event by taking over a full street with its stalls and sideshows. The chain is taking over 20 booths with attractions including workshops, stalls where children can try out the newest toys and a Rubik's cube challenge where 'speed cubers' will attempt to rearrange the famous puzzle in less than a minute - some doing it without even looking.

'We have been involved with the Lan Kwai Fong carnival every year since it was established but this year is the biggest for us,' said Toys 'R' Us spokeswoman Elaine Ma. 'Usually we take up seven or eight of the booths but this year we are taking up the whole street and making it Toys 'R' Us Street.'

Explaining why the carnival holds such appeal for Toys 'R' Us, Ms Ma said: 'The feedback in previous years has been very good. We are able to attract a lot of families with children during the daytime. In terms of our target audience it is just perfect because during the daytime a lot of families come.'

There was also a universality about the carnival that was unique in Hong Kong, she said. 'With most carnivals you have to pay. It is not usually free for the audience. At the Hong Kong World Carnival at the Tamar site last year, you had to pay about HK$100 to enter and then pay extra for some of the attractions once you are inside, but the Lan Kwai Fong carnival is free to enter.'

It's also an event that gives children an excuse to stay out with their parents way beyond their usual bedtime. While the carnival continues until 1am each night, the children's booths will stay open until 9pm or 10pm.

Restaurants too will be joining in the carnival atmosphere by putting out stalls selling food and drink to revellers in the street throughout the day and evening. In some cases, it will offer a chance to sample some of the Lan Kwai Fong drinks and delicacies at lower than normal prices.

Hiram To of the Igor's restaurant group said: 'We have a number of bars in Lan Kwai Fong. We're very much part of the community and it's important for us to support events there. We have been involved in these things from the outset.

'It's great to have a street party atmosphere and it's good for business too. Generally, a lot of people who go to the carnival are regulars of Lan Kwai Fong, although you do get the locals who perhaps wouldn't normally go and you get families as well.'

Over time, Mr To said, the event may change the client mix at Lan Kwai Fong by exposing it to a wider audience. 'Trends come and go,' he said. 'Over the years there have been times when locals would go there because it was the fashionable thing to do, but that's quietened down now.

'You get a lot of expats who are the real regulars, but at the same time we get other people who live and work around the area. At the moment the mix (between locals and expatriates) is about 50-50.'

It's an event that gives children an excuse to stay out with their parents way beyond their usual bedtime


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