Singapore is host to events all year round, from the Grand Prix to the Luminarie light sculptures
The Lion City offers visitors an impressive calendar of leisure activities – from food festivals to retail extravaganzas to the showcasing of contemporary art, there is something for everyone to enjoy
From family fun to food fiestas, action sports to cultural enrichment, and all manner of music, shopping and themed events in between, Singapore swings with a full calendar of leisure activities scheduled throughout the year.
Following two major events each summer – the Singapore Food Festival in July, and the Great Singapore Sale retail extravaganza, running from June to August – September is Grand Prix season, when the roar of Formula One motor racing thrills throngs of visitors and millions of fans watching worldwide.
The world’s first Formula One night race has been held annually in Singapore since 2008, and remains Asia’s sole street race in Grand Prix history.
It’s also one of the most popular events on the Formula One calendar, for the drivers as well as fans.
The 5.065km long Marina Bay street circuit, centrally located in downtown Singapore, is a challenge for the drivers, says 1980 Formula One World Champion Alan Jones, who has been an Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile driver steward at the event.
“It’s a bit like Monaco, where you’ve got to have 101 per cent concentration. You just can’t allow the car to drift out too wide, or make any mistakes under brakes, because instead of going out onto asphalt or gravel, you’re going to hit a wall.”
Racing wheel-to-wheel at up to 320km/h under lights, the city’s high humidity pushes drivers to the limit, with very few places to rest along the lap.
“Singapore is a very cool place and quite unique in that it’s a night race,” adds Williams’ driver Valtteri Bottas, one of the sport’s young hot shots. “Being in the middle of the city, I can walk to the circuit from my hotel, which is convenient and adds to the sense of atmosphere. For the fans there is nothing more you would want really – you can see the city and racing all in close proximity.”
In addition to world-class motor sport, the event incorporates an entertainment extravaganza, kicking off this year with a concert by Australian singing sensation Kylie Minogue. Other entertainers headlining the bill include English indie rock band Bastille, Queen + Adam Lambert performing their biggest show production to date, Grammy winning American a cappella group Pentatonix, and American disco kings KC and The Sunshine Band. Multiplatinum alternative rock band Imagine Dragons will close the weekend performing their smash hit anthems.
The 2016 Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Grand Prix will be held from September 16-18 (www.singaporegp.sg).
And if you think it never snows in Singapore, you haven’t visited in December.
Christmas Wonderland @ Gardens by the Bay puts the magic of Christmas in a whole new light – one where visitors can immerse themselves in a traditional European “white” Christmas, in one of Singapore’s most iconic landmarks.
The family-favourite combination of spectacular Luminarie light sculptures, festive market, ice skating rink and snow playground, and traditional carnival rides and game stalls, saw a record turnout of more than 1.6 million visitors last year.
Nestled amid the garden greenery, the Luminarie light sculptures, handmade by Italian craftsmen, make a perfect backdrop for the chorus of carollers. Ice Palace, a 20.3-metre wide indoor chamber that delivers an arctic experience, offers fun for young and old. Play at the snow playground, or don your skates and glide on the ice.
Set amid three waterfront gardens at Marina Bay, the heart of the city’s new downtown, Singapore’s largest annual fair runs from December 1 to 30 (www.christmaswonderland.sg). Visiting Orchard Road through November and December will also reveal a massive display in the annual Christmas Light-up.
After all the excitement and merriment of the previous months, January brings a touch of culture with Art Stage Singapore 2017.
A leading art fair in Asia, this annual event showcases bold contemporary art from across the region.
Galleries are selected to exhibit after a strict selection process. The fair’s reputation for its insights into Asia’s dynamic visual arts scene sees visitors coming from all corners of the globe, including influential private art collectors and corporate buyers.
Art Stage Singapore runs from January 12 to 15, 2017 (www.artstagesingapore.com).
With so much in store, surprising Singapore surely has something for everyone.