Thousands revel in ST party at new Gardens

TENS of thousands of readers turned up yesterday for the first-ever Straits Times Appreciates Readers (Star) carnival and concert, held at the newly opened Gardens by the Bay.

Readers had their caricatures sketched by the paper's artists and snapshots taken by its photographers.

Many also tried their hand at writing headlines.

Crowds gathered to gawk at the participants of a Cosplay contest organised by journalists, while stiltwalkers collected donations for The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund.

Tutor Kwok Ying Ying, 36, said: 'I never thought that The Straits Times would do something like this. It is a good way to promote the ST brand, especially to the young.'

Older readers were also charmed.

'There's such a great atmosphere here,' said 73-year-old Clare Chong, who said she has read the paper every day for half a century.

'People of all ages and races are mingling together like one big family.'

Following the carnival - which was free and open to the public - readers headed over to the ticketed concert at the Meadow nearby.

The line-up included crowd favourites American band Boys Like Girls and Korean girl group 4Minute, while local acts such as Tanya Chua, Taufik Batisah and Hady Mirza also proved popular.

As dusk fell, and the Super Trees lit up, the Meadow came alive with swaying lightsticks as the performers thrilled the concertgoers.

The carnival and concert, which coincided with the paper's 167th birthday, were attended by more than 20,000 people.

ST editor Warren Fernandez said: 'This was our way of reaching out and thanking our readers. It is wonderful to see so many of them here, enjoying the Gardens, and having a great time.'