Fri, Jul 04, 2014 - Page 12 News List

Blowing in the wind

For the next two months, Nantou County’s Cingjing Farm will host the popular Windmill Festival

By Enru Lin  /  Staff reporter

Last year, organizers say that windmills drew 250,000 people to Nantou County during the two-month Cingjing Windmill Festival, which this year features outdoor star-gazing.

Photo courtesy of Cingjing Farm

It seems there is a festival for everything, no matter how niche.

Windmills, along with a contingent of pinwheels, have helped Cingjing Windmill Festival (清境風車節) in Nantou County become a thriving tourist attraction.

Since its launch in 2007, the showcase has displayed impressive staying power, restaging itself for two months every year.

According to organizers, 250,000 visitors descended on Cingjing Farm (清境農場) last year to admire the armies of pinwheels and windmills, with blades whirring in unison.

Wind speed increases with altitude, and at 2,100m above sea level, Cingjing Farm has a brisk and constant breeze.

“Due to that wind, back in the 1980s and 1990s the youth corps liked to come here and camp out, fold pinwheels and fly their kites,” said Lin Chun-hsiung (林俊雄), a section chief at Cingjing Farm.

“That is the tradition we are trying to sustain.”

Starting tomorrow, the Cingjing Windmill Festival is showing 15,000 pinwheels and windmills artfully arranged in zones like Joy and Love, which is “particularly suited for couples,” Lin said.

But you do not need to be a fan of windmills to appreciate the event.

Over the years, the Cingjing Windmill Festival has scaled out into a collection of colorful odds and ends only tangentially linked to its theme.

“A local tea association is going to host a tea party on the prairie, and there is a live show to go with it. Visitors can also sit back and look at the windmills,” Lin said.

“It will be a mix of eastern and western sensibilities. They are serving high-mountain tea and cupcakes.”

The festival program also includes entertainment by local ensembles on weekends, as well as tours of the nearby orchard, vegetable garden and sheep ranch.

Tomorrow resident farmers will mark the festival’s opening day with a sheep shearing, after which the Taichung City Youth Symphony Orchestra (台中市青少年交響樂團) will play an outdoor concert.

New to this year is outdoor star-gazing — professionally guided gazing with the aid of a high-powered telescope, Lin said.

Guided tours by the Family Star Association (台灣親子觀星會) and other astronomy societies are offered tomorrow, July 19, Aug. 2 and Aug. 16 from 7:30 pm to 8:30pm and 8:30pm and 9:30pm, at NT$150 per person.

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