Donald Tsang Yam-kuen last night told 3,000 supporters his re-election campaign had been 'a wonderful journey', despite his fears he would suffer rejection on the hustings.
'Because of my long time serving in the civil service, I'm a person who's very serious and dull, Sometimes people say that when I laugh, I look like a vampire,' he said to applause and a wave of the audience's coloured sticks at Wan Chai's Southorn Playground.
But he said he had been hugely encouraged when he was showered with support as he met Hong Kong people young and old, and believed that he would do a good job if re-elected.
Canto-pop singers including Leon Lai Ming and Leo Ku Kui-kei performed for the crowd, and film actor and director Stephen Chow Sing-chi took to the stage at the end of the two-hour rally.
Mr Tsang's wife, Selina Tsang Pou Siu-mei, and his brother Tsang Yam-pui, the former police commissioner, were at his side. Chief Secretary Rafael Hui Si-yan was the only member of Mr Tsang's governing team to show his support at the campaign's last big event before tomorrow's chief executive election.
However, the leader of the Liberal Party, James Tien Pei-chun, and Tam Yiu-chung, vice-chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, had front-row seats and took to the stage, as did the Federation of Trade Unions' Cheng Yiu-tong.
The music, applause and speeches were not enough to drown out the loudspeakers of harbour activists and protesters from political groups The Frontier and the League of Social Democrats.
The Frontier's Emily Lau Wai-hing, who was blocked from entering the stadium, said the event showed the election was a farce.
'A small-circle party for the small-circle election. Just as you cannot vote on Sunday, nor can you share in the fun inside,' Ms Lau told passers-by.