80,000 people treated to night of colour and festivities at Chingay celebrations

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his wife Ho Ching are seen on the first float, decorated with the theme "Home", during the Chingay Parade 2017 on Feb 10, 2017.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his wife Ho Ching are seen on the first float, decorated with the theme "Home", during the Chingay Parade 2017 on Feb 10, 2017.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
Traditional Chinese big-headed dolls offering Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his wife Ho Ching oranges.
Traditional Chinese big-headed dolls offering Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his wife Ho Ching oranges.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
Water from a mock moat splashed onto the audience last night as dancers frolicked in it.
Water from a mock moat splashed onto the audience last night as dancers frolicked in it. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his wife Ho Ching are seen on the first float, decorated with the theme "Home", during the Chingay Parade 2017 on Feb 10, 2017.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his wife Ho Ching are seen on the first float, decorated with the theme "Home", during the Chingay Parade 2017 on Feb 10, 2017.ST PHOTO: LINETTE LAI
Performers wait for their turn backstage during the Chingay Parade on Feb 10, 2017.
Performers wait for their turn backstage during the Chingay Parade on Feb 10, 2017. ST PHOTO: LINETTE LAI
Parade participants wait for their turn to perform at the backstage area.
Parade participants wait for their turn to perform at the backstage area.ST PHOTO: LINETTE LAI
Indonesian dancers perform at the Chingay Parade 2017 on Feb 10, 2017.
Indonesian dancers perform at the Chingay Parade 2017 on Feb 10, 2017.ST PHOTO: LINETTE LAI
The Japanese contingent, which consists of taiko drummers and performers on a nautical-themed float, during the Chingay Parade 2017 on Feb 10, 2017.
The Japanese contingent, which consists of taiko drummers and performers on a nautical-themed float, during the Chingay Parade 2017 on Feb 10, 2017.ST PHOTO: LINETTE LAI
A float decorated to celebrate 50 years of National Service in Singapore is seen during the Chingay Parade on Feb 10, 2017.
A float decorated to celebrate 50 years of National Service in Singapore is seen during the Chingay Parade on Feb 10, 2017.ST PHOTO: LINETTE LAI
Performers simulating a dragon boat race in one of the segments in the show, which also featured iconic performances from the 1970s.
Performers simulating a dragon boat race in one of the segments in the show, which also featured iconic performances from the 1970s.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

SINGAPORE - The streets around the F1 Pit Building near Marina Bay were a whirl of light and colour on Friday (Feb 10) night, as soldiers marched alongside performers in the annual Chingay celebrations.

The audience of around 80,000 were treated to more than a visual feast - they were showered with soap bubbles, water droplets, and even fake snow.

About 8,000 performers took part in the street parade, which has been an annual fixture since 1973. A host of ministers and MPs, including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his wife Ho Ching, were also there to capture the excitement.

Friday's parade opened with an elegant dance by performers in flowing blue-and-silver gowns, before moving into the boisterous second act, featuring a dragon dance and traditional Chinese big-headed dolls.

Other segments paid homage to Chingay highlights from the past - as with the flower motifs in the fifth act that echoed the hand-painted flowers from three years ago, and a replica of the first Chingay float in the shape of a leaping tiger.

There was also an international twist, with contingents from six countries such as Indonesia, South Korea, and Japan showing off their national costumes.

To commemorate 50 years of national service in Singapore, the Singapore Armed Forces and the Home Team's float featured officers dressed in old military uniforms, accompanied by a marching band and bagpipers.

"This year's parade felt a bit fresher and there was a lot of energy, especially from the children," said fresh graduate Joanna Chan, 24, who performed in the finale with a crowd of secondary school students.

Said 60-year-old retiree Wong Jia Yeh, who was watching the show: "All the colours this year made the parade very spectacular."

Another edition of the Chingay parade will be held on Saturday. It will be attended by President Tony Tan Keng Yam and his wife, Mrs Mary Tan. On Sunday, the public will also be able to view the parade floats up close at the Chingay Night Fiesta, which will be held in Chinatown.