River Hongbao draws more than 1.35 million visitors

Visitors enjoying the fireworks at the River Hongbao on Feb 10, 2019. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

SINGAPORE - The River Hongbao celebrations have drawn more than 1.35 million visitors during the eight days of festivities.

River Hongbao, which has been part of Singapore's Chinese New Year festivities since 1987, was held at The Float @ Marina Bay.

The curtain came down on Sunday (Feb 10) in a celebration themed Harmony Night that thrilled large crowds, including Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

Various groups, including students from Hua Yi Secondary School, Singapore Polytechnic and Kebun Baru Community Club's Dikir Barat group, took to the stage to perform.

Visitors saw zodiac animal lanterns and a giant God of Fortune lantern as well as a wishing well in the shape of Suntec City's Fountain of Wealth.

The final flourish will take some beating - a 10-minute firework display by Chinese company Tang Hua Fireworks, which has 30 years of experience at major events, including the Beijing and London Olympic Games.

Award-winning artists from Australia, China, Italy and the United States lit up the Singapore skyline with fireworks over previous nights.

River Hongbao has been building in popularity over the years. It drew 1.45 million visitors last year, 1.4 million in 2017 and 1.06 million in 2016.

Mrs Joanne Choo, who visited the festival with her husband and daughter, said the event is an opportunity to bond with her family.

Mrs Choo, 26, visits the festival every year: "I enjoyed the performances, There were food stalls too, all kinds of aroma were wafting to my nose. There were fun rides for children as well."

Mr Ang Wei Neng, chairman of the River Hongbao organising committee, said the hard work has paid off.

The MP for Jurong GRC said: "What is most satisfying is when I walk around and talk to people, to see many first-time visitors who say they want to return next year, and the happy faces of young children, teenagers, young adults, parents and grandparents as well as a diverse array of visitors from different countries, it makes it all worth it."

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