Orchard Road's Pedestrian Night turns out to be an enjoyable squeeze

SINGAPORE - It was "Pedestrian Night" at Orchard Road, but with activities and events in full swing, some visitors found it a tight squeeze.

Amongst the crowd was Ms Lim Cze Yie, with her three young daughters aged two to eight. "It's a bit too crowded," said the 39-year-old homemaker, who was squeezed into a corner as the crowd thronged behind her.

Around 3,000 visitors wandered along the 660m stretch normally reserved for traffic at the inaugural event, which was organised by the Orchard Road Business Association (Orba) to add another dimension to the iconic shopping stretch. Although many struggled to move in the crowd, many enjoyed activities ranging from tennis exhibitions by Singapore Tennis Association junior players to massages and music. For many, it was a great chance for family bonding, as parents and children tried out activities they normally might not.

"We're not really tennis fans, but we wanted to expose them to different things," said Ms Alice Ng, as she watched her daughter get her face painted. "We would rather experience such an open space event than do something like shopping," said the 38-year-old clinic manager. Crowds had started to gather along the side of the road and the barriers by 7pm, and eagerly streamed in once the event started half an hour later.

Briton Mr Kieran Vye, 47, who works in advertising, was excited about being being able to wander about on Orchard Road. "It's a beautiful city space, and I'm glad we're making use of it," he said.

lesterh@sph.com.sg

Orchard Road closes for Pedestrian Nights

Source: Orchard Rd Business Association | Straits Times Graphic: Lin Zhaowei