PICTURES

Mass speed dating event hit among singles looking for new friends, rather than true love

Host of Dating Fest 2014’s finale event, School of Love, Chua Enlai, entertaining the 500 singles at the mass speed dating event. -- PHOTO: SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT NETWORK
Host of Dating Fest 2014’s finale event, School of Love, Chua Enlai, entertaining the 500 singles at the mass speed dating event. -- PHOTO: SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT NETWORK
Nearly 500 singles turned up at the grand ballroom in Orchard Hotel on Sunday for an afternoon of mass speed dating, organised by the Social Development Network. -- PHOTO: SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT NETWORK
Nearly 500 singles turned up at the grand ballroom in Orchard Hotel on Sunday for an afternoon of mass speed dating, organised by the Social Development Network. -- PHOTO: SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT NETWORK

Many were not looking for true love, but rather a way to make new friends.

Nearly 500 singles turned up at the grand ballroom in Orchard Hotel on Sunday for an afternoon of mass speed dating, organised by the Social Development Network (SDN).

Each group of 10 was given about seven minutes to get to know each other before they moved on to a different table. This meant each participant would meet about 40 new people during the course of the event.

The lunch gathering marked the finale of this year's eight-week-long Dating Fest.

Dating Fest is an annual initiative by SDN and 11 partner organisations. It involves a variety of events, activities, and enrichment workshops organised for singles. These are not the traditional dinner date, but "fun and creative" activities like hiking, cooking, or dance classes.

Dating agencies say such activities are becoming more popular with the younger crowd, with many seeing them as a means to expand their social network and pick up a skill at the same time.

More than 1,400 singles signed up for this year's Dating Fest, up from about 1,000 the year before.