Bidders flooded Queen Elizabeth Stadium yesterday to battle for stalls at next year's Lunar New Year fair in Victoria Park. More than 2,900 people, more than twice as many as last year, turned up at the 3,500-seat arena on the second day of the government auction, which offered 284 dry-goods stalls. Keen competition saw most successful bidders pay at least 30 per cent more than they had expected to. The crowd was the biggest in recent years, with adult bidders outnumbering students, according to one supplier of products sold at the fair. The chance to make quick cash and the fact that Valentine's Day coincides with the first day of the next Lunar New Year particularly appealed to newcomers. A seller of traditional cakes who paid HK$60,000 for a stall, the second-highest price in a decade, said he had been keen to retain the same spot for the fourth year in a row. He also bid HK$43,000 to secure an adjacent stall - more than the highest price for a dry-goods stall last year. 'It's not really worth it. But I must get it,' said King of Chicken Cake chairman Leung Yui-hung, who never lowered his hand during the 10-minute race. He won a round of applause from other bidders for his determination. He estimated that he would need to sell 125,000 chicken cakes during the six days of the fair in order to pay the rent and his employees. This year he sold about 100,000. Meanwhile, bidders showed their confidence in thematic dry-goods stalls, a category of stalls introduced by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department last year. They are twice as big as normal dry-goods stalls, but their opening price is more than double. Only one of the eight bigger stalls found a bidder last year, and it was taken at its opening price. All stalls found bidders yesterday, with the average closing price 30 per cent higher than the opening. One of the successful bidders was 24-year-old designer Wilson Tam Chin-hong. He will sell pairs of dolls - a boy and a girl dressed as tigers. He operated a stall at the Fa Hui Market this Lunar New Year, earning HK$130,000 after an investment of HK$100,000. Tam said he was looking for a profit of 100 per cent next year. Newcomers plan to stand out at the fair with creative designs and promotion strategies. Salesian English School student Justin Cheng Cham-wang, 15, said his stall would sell an electronic device whose screen showed custom- designed messages. 'Customers can enter 'I love you' into it,' he said. Chung Shuk-fan, studying for an associate degree in leisure and tourism, said her team would film a movie and put it on YouTube and Facebook. 'It will be hilarious and I will appear in it,' she said. She spent HK$19,500 on the stall, HK$4,500 more than she planned to. 'Maybe more people will come ... now that the economy is reviving,' she said. QualiEd College teacher Ryan Yan Pat-to said the school planned to partly fund the students' stall by issuing 'stock' to parents. 'By paying HK$50, parents got HK$55 back last year,' he said. Eric Chan from Heartwork, a wholesaler of fair products, said vendors might spend less on goods after paying more on rent. The vendors may also be forced to show less creativity, bringing for sale standard products instead of designing their own.