The annual National Taiwan University (NTU) Azalea Festival began in Taipei yesterday, the first time the event has been jointly run by the university and the Taipei City Government.
The festival, now in its 20th year, has for the first time been expanded to the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, the National Taiwan Normal University and Gongguan (公館) commercial district, Ko said at the opening ceremony.
Ko said that as an alumnus of the university, he was honored to attend the festival, as the azaleas on campus were some of his fondest memories from his student days.
“The Japanese have cherry blossoms. The Dutch have tulips. Here, we have azaleas,” he said, adding he hopes azaleas can become a symbol of Taipei.
In response to criticism over the NT$9 million (US$289,986) the city government spent on azaleas for the festival, Ko said that the expenditure was part of an effort to gradually increase the number of azaleas for the festival annually.
Selected indie bookstores, eateries and shops on Wenzhou Street, Roosevelt Road and Tingzhou Road are offering discounts to people who go to the festival until the end of this month, which Ko said is a collaborative effort between the public and private sectors.
People who attend a picnic and outdoor concert at Daan Forest Park on Saturday next week or visit the cultural and creative market and “check in” at the events on Facebook will receive a NT$20 coupon for use at participating stores.
People wanting to join the picnic can sign up at: http://2017.azalea.taipei/activity.php.
For a list of stores where the coupons can be used, visit: http://2017.azalea.taipei/store.php.
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