Mon, Feb 25, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Thousands brave rain for Lantern Festival parade

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

People photograph Bravo the Bear, Taipei’s mascot, during the Taipei Lantern Festival parade in the Ximending area yesterday afternoon.

Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times

Thousands of people yesterday afternoon crowded the main street of Taipei’s Ximending (西門町) area despite heavy rain to see the carnival parade marking the last day of the nine-day Taipei Lantern Festival.

Proceeding along Zhonghua Road Sec 1 (中華路一段), the parade started at Kaifeng Street (開封街), at Taipei City Fu Hsing Elementary School near Taipei Railway Station, and ended at Gueiyang Street (貴陽街).

By the time the parade began at 3pm, nearly 1,000 people had crowded the plaza outside Ximen MRT Station, huddled under umbrellas or ponchos to stave off the weather.

A special feature of this year’s parade was the participation of a float from Tokyo Disney Resort’s 35th anniversary “Happiest Celebration” parade, featuring classic Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Pluto, as well as the Disney Bears Duffy and ShellieMay, which are popular among Japanese fans.

It was the float’s first appearance outside of Japan, so many people were eager to capture it on smartphones or took selfies as the group stopped in front of the plaza for a dance performance.

Other popular cartoon characters and mascots, including Peppa Pig from the popular British animated TV series, 7-Eleven mascot Open-chan and city mascot Bravo the Bear, shared high-fives with the crowd along the route.

The parade also featured honor guard and marching bands from Municipal First Girls’ Senior High School, Taipei Municipal Shilin High School of Commerce, Taipei Municipal Zhong-zheng Senior High School and Taipei Municipal Jingmei Girls’ Senior High School.

On Saturday, Pintung County’s Taiwan Lantern Festival set an attendance record with more than 810,000 visitors, but many people complained about having to wait in long lines to catch a shuttle bus away from the venue.

The county government would improve the shuttle service to ensure there would not be a repeat over the long Peace Memorial Day holiday that starts on Thursday, Pingtung County Commissioner Pan Men-an (潘孟安) said.

Additional reporting by Chen Yen-ting

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