What a carry-on!

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 16 November, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 16 November, 2008, 12:00am

Autumn has arrived at long last, and the glorious sun and cool breezes mean family fun can finally take place outdoors. A perfect starting point is this morning's Sedan Chair Race and Bazaar at The Peak, where you can enjoy the carnival atmosphere and raise money for charity.

More than 500 people from all walks of life will form 54 teams and carry sedan chairs in the race around Mount Kellett.

In addition to the obvious prize for the fastest team, which is often won by teams from the police or fire department, the most creative costumes, decoration and entertainment will also be honoured. It's as much a fun parade as it is a competitive race.

First-timers Andrew Cook and Natalie Chapman, Year 12 students from Island School, signed up this year. They've been training intensively, up to three times a week.

'I want to help the less fortunate and improve my fitness at the same time,' says Andrew.

They both hope that more schools would take part in the event in the future. Not only is it a fun experience, but it's a great way to help the needy.

Willing to take part in the race again next year, Andrew says: 'It's a good bonding experience with fellow students'. Natalie is a little more reserved - she's waiting to see how she feels after the race before committing to next year's challenge.

The race starts at 10am but visitors are advised to arrive earlier, as Mount Kellett and parts of Plunkett's Road will be closed to traffic and access will be restricted from 10am to 11am. A free shuttle bus service will be arranged between Peak Galleria and City Hall.

If you miss the race, the bazaar starts at noon. Located in the hospital grounds, you'll find great family fun and entertainment until 4pm. Expect to see game stalls, arts and crafts, face-painting, live bands, a wide range of food and drinks, and shopping bargains you won't be able to resist.

The theme for this year's carnival is Around the World, in the hopes of uniting people of different cultures who share the city. The afternoon will feature entertainment from around the world, such as lion dances, Hawaiian dance, Japanese drumming, belly dancing and Brazilian war dance. It's a great opportunity to see a range of international acts without getting on a plane.

The Sedan Chair Charities Fund helps new and lesser-known local charities that receive limited or no support from the Community Chest, Hong Kong Jockey Club, or the government. Around HK$4.3 million was raised last year and the donations went to 40 charities, including Against Child Abuse, Fu Hong Society, Hope World Wide, Mother's Choice, and Youth Outreach.

Get outside, give your support and enjoy yourself!