River Hongbao returns as organisers prepare for record number of visitors

The nine-day event at Gardens by the Bay from Jan 20 to Jan 28 offers both physical and virtual activities. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
Admission is free to all visitors, with no prior booking required. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

SINGAPORE – Organisers of the River Hongbao event are preparing for a record turnout as this year’s edition gets a boost from the removal of pandemic restrictions.

The nine-day event at Gardens by the Bay from Jan 20 to 28 offers both physical and virtual activities. Admission is free for all visitors, with no prior booking required.

To ensure crowd safety, more than 100 volunteers, along with auxiliary police officers, will be deployed.

The highlights include intricate Chinese New Year-themed structures, carnival games and performances. There will also be 30 giant lanterns set up like last year.

Food Street will make its return for the first time since the pandemic started, with local cuisine and street food dished out.

Organisers have teased a possible collaboration with Taiwan’s famous Shilin Night Market, although this is still subject to approval.

Floral displays at the Flower Dome will showcase 40 varieties of dahlias from Europe.

Floral displays at the Flower Dome will showcase 40 varieties of dahlias from Europe. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

Visitors can also track 100 rabbit figurines scattered along a trail, with the new lunar year being the Year of the Rabbit.

“We wanted to strengthen this element of celebration with River Hongbao, as we see Chinese New Year as a community-centric celebration,” said Gardens by the Bay chief executive Felix Loh.

An iconic part of Chinese New Year celebrations, River Hongbao began in 1987 and was previously held at The Float @ Marina Bay before moving to Gardens by the Bay in 2021.

The partnership between River Hongbao and the Gardens has been extended for three more years until 2026.

River Hongbao will also host live shows on fengshui on Facebook, and introduce an augmented reality filter on TikTok that mimics the user’s actions.

Thirty giant lanterns will also be set up at this year’s River Hongbao. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

POSB will hold its first charity drive with River Hongbao at the event. The bank will donate $5 for every selfie taken with the God of Fortune display and posted on social media with the hashtag #NeighboursDoGood”.

POSB is aiming to donate $50,000 by the end of the event to children and families in need.

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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