HONG KONG -- Hong Kong is set to ring in both the new millennium
and the Year of the Dragon with a roster of special events between
November and February.
Although many details have yet to be finalized, a preliminary
list of major events recently was released by the Hong Kong Tourist
Kicking off the celebration will be a massive harborfront tea
party at Tamar site (the former British Navy base).
Billed as the World's Largest Tea Party, the Nov. 28 event is
expected to draw some 10,000 participants to brew and drink the
quintessential Chinese beverage.
Hong Kong will partake in a less sedate event during the
Millennium Illumination -- City of Light and Sound contest held
December through February. During the contest, which is staged
every year during the holiday season, local businesses sponsor
elaborate light displays to vie for top honors.
New Year's Eve itself will feature a Millennium Extravaganza at
the Happy Valley Racecourse. During the celebration, craftsmen from
Mainland China and Hong Kong will present a display of 50 giant
lanterns as a backdrop to a massive dragon dance -- including
representatives from all of Hong Kong's 18 districts -- and lantern
festival at the horse-racing facility.
The show also will put the spotlight on top local pop artists
who will perform for the crowd. The Happy Valley Racecourse plans
to hold seven races Dec. 31, with a Millennium Cup race, organized
by the Hong Kong Jockey Club, held shortly after midnight.
Other plans for ringing in the millennium and Chinese New Year
include a Millennium Night Fever theme at Hong Kong Island's Lan
Kwai Fong food quarter, Kowloon's Khutsford Terrace area and other
night spots. From December through February, special dining offers
and entertainment will be presented to revelers.
Other food-related holiday happenings include the Hong Kong
Gourmet Delights promotion, also from December through February, in
which diners can partake of special millennium menus for about $26
per person at select restaurants throughout Hong Kong.
Of course, on Millennium Eve, drums and bells will sound from
churches and temples, and broadcasts on giant television walls will
document the countdown throughout the destination.
The post-millennium festivities will culminate with the Feb. 5
Parade of Dragons celebrating the Chinese New Year. The annual
parade winds through Hong Kong Island and boasts colorful dragon
dancers; floats; street entertainers; musicians and marching bands,
and cultural and dance troupes from around the world.
Several other major events will coincide with the millennium and
Chinese New Year celebrations, including:The Hong Kong Products Expo 1999, organized by the Chinese
Manufacturers Association of Hong Kong and held from December until
mid-January, will feature a wide selection of products such as
leather goods, jewelry and furniture. This year's event, held at
Tamar site, is expected to contain more than 600 booths and will
carry the theme "Advancing into the New Millennium."Cirque du Soleil will perform its Saltimbanco production from
late January through early April at its specially designed,
2,500-seat big top on the waterfront at Tamar.The Hong Kong Arts Festival 2000 will be held Feb. 2 through
March 12 at various sites throughout Hong Kong and will feature top
regional and international artists.The Spirit of Flight will visit Hong Kong's Kai Tak Airport
site from early December through mid-May and will showcase more
than 40 large replicas of aircraft and other flying machines dating
from the birth of flight to the space shuttle.
For more information about millennium, Chinese New Year and
other events, contact the Hong Kong Tourist Association at (800)
282-HKTA. The HKTA maintains a Web site at www.hkta.org.