Pattaya Daily News

24 January 2009 :: 21:01:17 pm 24586

Big success for Pattaya city’s first Mardi Gras festival

At 6:00 pm Pattaya City mayor, Mr. Ittipol Khunpluem, Mr. Niki Kongkrut of the TAT Pattaya office and Mr. Kobchai Jirathiwat of the Central Pattana Co. officiated over the ceremony to celebrate the Pattaya International Mardi Gras and the grand opening of the city's massive new shopping mall, the Central Festival on Pattaya Beach claimed to be the largest of its kind in Asia.
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The Mardi Gras (literally Fat Tuesday) is usually linked to the famous carnivals of Rio De Janeiro and New Orleans and the time period varies from place to place, with New Orleans celebrating its Mardi Gras Day this year on Tuesday 24th February.

Pattaya city had decided on being quicker off the block, and changing the day to Friday, so perhaps Vendredi Gras (Fat Friday) would have been a more appropriate name, though perhaps with not quite the same ring to it.

The festival was primarily an attempt to boost tourism in the region and to also coincide with the opening of the new shopping mall of one of its main sponsor’s, the Central Pattana Group. Other sponsors included various Pattaya Tourism and Hotel clubs, local bars and other businesses.

Although based on celebrations of the same name around the world the local version wasn’t designed to support Gay and Lesbian groups but instead intended to focus on three themes – Thai Contemporary Arts, Modern Beach Lifestyle and an Under the Sea Celebration.

The highlight of the festival was an energetic Electric Parade which started, later than announced, at 5 pm, led by the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

 

A dominant feature was a long stream of bar-girls (and boys), interspersed with a range of noisy custom cars. Some of the girls danced in the traditional erotic fashion, others were shouting and singing, though their traditional chants of Hello sexy man! were for once missing from their repertoire. The whole display was no doubt an eye opener for any tourists unfamiliar with the local bar scene. Costumes ranged from non-at-all to the more outlandish with the traditional Thai style somewhere in between.

The other major section of the parade featured children from local schools, many of whom matched their adult counterparts with their choice of costumes, and were accompanied by marching bands and traditional Thai music.

Traffic was brought to a standstill as the estimated 5 km long parade followed its course around central Pattaya, finishing at the new shopping mall at about 7 pm.

 

At the end crowds were treated to a display of more than 300 fireworks, followed by a concert from a popular Thai band.

The Mardi Gras was organized very quickly (only 3-4 months) and the organizations responsible had put together as impressive and successful an event as could be expected.

An estimated crowd of 25000 people had joined in with the event and most of those that PDN spoke to said they enjoyed themselves and hoped the Mardi Gras would be repeated again next year.

PDN welcomes comments from any readers who attended the festival.

 

 

 

 

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : PDN staff   Category : Tourism News

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