Fri, Feb 15, 2008 - Page 2 News List

Taipei Lantern Festival opens today

LIGHT ENTERTAINMENT The main attraction at this year's celebration is a 9m-diameter red lantern made up of 1,000 plastic rats at the Sun Yat-sen Memorial

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

This year's Taipei Lantern Festival opens today, with several locations in Xinyi District having been turned into lantern display areas for the week-long festival.

The festival, which runs through Feb. 24, features various kinds of lanterns designed according to the Year of Rat theme in the Xinyi business district, including the Sun Yat-sen Memorial, Taipei City Hall and several parks and plazas in the area.

Rather than simply having a mascot this year, the department invited architect Liu Kuo-chan (劉國滄) to design a piece of art for the front plaza of the Sun Yat-sen Memorial. The piece includes a 9m-diameter red lantern made up of about 1,000 plastic rats, while the memorial hall itself will be wrapped in red and gold cloth.

A five-minute light show featuring the main lantern will be presented every hour from 6pm to 11pm until Tuesday.

In addition to the main lantern display area at the memorial hall, more traditional lanterns and ones with religious themes can be found near Taipei City Hall. International lanterns from Macau, the Philippines, Malaysia and other places are on display at the Xinyi 21 Plaza in front of Taipei 101.

Taipei City's Civil Affairs Department said residents can pick up free mini-lanterns at the Renai Road entrance of the Sun Yat-sen Memorial from Saturday to Thursday, and at the main entrance of Taipei City Hall on Saturday and Sunday. A limited number of free lanterns will be given away at these locations starting at 2pm during the festival.

To ease the heavy traffic expected during the festival, the city's Department of Transportation is providing a lantern bus service between the Zhongxiao-Fuxing and Taipei City Hall MRT stations.

The department encouraged festival participants to take advantage of public transportation, as Renai, Songgao, Shifu and Yixian roads will be partly closed to traffic during the festival.

For more information on this year's Taipei Lantern Festival, visit www.taipei-festival2008.com.

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