Number of visitors to be doubled at this year's River Hongbao at Gardens by the Bay

In-person festivities at this year's River Hongbao will begin on Jan 30 and last till Feb 6. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

SINGAPORE - For the second time running, River Hongbao will take place at Gardens by the Bay this year with live performances and amusement rides being brought back.

In-person festivities will begin on Jan 30 and last till Feb 6.

Virtual activities will also be held as part of the hybrid event.

An iconic part of the Chinese New Year celebrations, River Hongbao began in 1987 and was held previously at The Float@Marina Bay.

Festivalgoers can look forward to Getai performances and a Xinyao night, both featuring local artistes.

The event is free, but ticketed, as part of crowd control measures.

Up to 4,400 visitors per time slot can enter the event grounds this year, as compared with 2,000 visitors last year.

Members of the public will have to book a time slot on the River Hongbao website. Time slots will be released in batches from Wednesday (Jan 19), 11am.

Up to five people can be registered per booking.

Over a hundred volunteers, safe distancing ambassadors and auxiliary officers will be deployed on the ground to help usher and disperse crowds and ensure that safe management measures are adhered to.

Mr Thomas Chua, chairman of the River Hongbao organising committee, said: "As the Omicron situation is still developing, we will monitor it and work with the relevant authorities.

"If there is a need to make changes to our activities in the event of the situation evolving, we will not hesitate to take the necessary action as the safety of visitors is our utmost priority," he added.

Thirty lanterns will be set up this year, up from 24 last year.

The lanterns include the God of Fortune at the Supertree Grove, the 12 zodiac animals and a music-themed Rising After Challenges lantern which is designed around a piano keyboard.

This piano keyboard lantern comprises a giant floor piano on which a limited number of people can play with their feet.

Heart-shaped arches, also known as the Wishing Heart, will honour the Chinese New Year tradition of casting coins for good luck.

Visitors can also offer blessings or make wishes by releasing floating flowers with LED lights on the Dragonfly Lake at the event. All proceeds from the Wishing Heart and flower blessings will go to charity.

An exhibition on the cultural and social history of the Chinese and overseas Chinese communities will also be on display.

Curated by Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall, the exhibition includes depictions of mythical deities and creatures, as well as scenes from traditional folklore and opera.

Virtual activities include POSB's mobile game, which will allows players to hunt zodiac animals and stand a chance to win cash prizes, and take part in contests across different social media platforms such as TikTok and Instagram.

River Hongbao is organised by the Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations, Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, SPH Media Trust's Chinese Media Group, Singapore Tourism Board and People's Association.

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