Thu, Oct 17, 2013 - Page 12 News List

Taipei’s Mardi Gras

The annual Dream Parade fills city streets with glitter, feathers, live music and elaborate floats on Saturday

By Diane Baker  /  Staff reporter

To encourage more audience participation, the parade is featuring two other competitions this year. There will be 10 young women competing for the title of “most beautiful samba girl” and about five “samba grannies,” as Tsai calls them, who average at 80 years old and will be competing for their own title. The winners will be announced at the stage show that follows the parade.

“Also at the stage show … there will be a lucky draw to win a ticket to the Asakusa Samba carnival in Japan,” Tsai said.

The parade starts at 3pm and is scheduled to finish at 6pm. The route is 1.2km long, beginning at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall plaza’s main gateway. The marchers will head up Zhongshan South Road (中山南路) to Renai Road (仁愛路), where the parade will turn right and head toward Linsen South Road (林森南路) before making a U-turn and heading back to Ketagalan Boulevard (凱達格蘭大道). The parade ends at a stage area in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

There is a post-parade stage show on Ketagalan that is scheduled to run from 6pm to 9pm.

If you want to catch a glimpse of Tsai, he won’t be hard to spot.

“This year, I am a purple fighter,” he said.

So keep your eyes peeled for a middle-aged man in purple body paint and not much else, dancing on a float or on the street and pausing occasionally to breathe fire. Like the Dream Parade itself, Tsai is a unique fixture in Taiwan’s artistic sphere.

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