The flower carpet welcomes
visitors to attend one of
central Taiwan's most
2013 Xinshe Flower Festival
A wonderland of
Words by Chang Ju-ling Translated by Angel Pu
Photos provided by Taiwan Seed Improvement and Propagation Station,
COA and Tourism and Travel Bureau, Taichung City Government
The annual Xinshe Flower Festival has become one of central Taiwan's most
anticipated fall/winter events, especially welcomed by avid gardeners, as it
continues to grow increasingly creative and set new visitor records.
Since its inception in 1971, the internationally-known Flower Carpet festival has been held at the Grand-Place in Brussels biannually, each time with a different theme, making it an extremely popular tourist event. Now, however, Taiwanese residents don't have to travel all the way to Belgium or wait for two years to pass. Instead, they can head for the Xinshe Flower Festival, which has become one of the most anticipated annual events in central Taiwan. For eight years straight, organizers have continued to offer creative displays and content. In 2011, the Taichung International Flower Carpet Festival was also incorporated into the event, which expanded even further the year after when it was combined with the Central Taiwan Agriculture Expo. This means that it now offers a broad range of activities and content that continue to draw growing numbers of local and foreign visitors interested in seeing central Taiwan's outstanding floral and other agricultural products.
The 2013 Xinshe Flower Festival will take place from Nov. 9 (Sat.) to Dec. 8 (Sun.), which includes five weekends. For this year's event, the organizer has chosen the theme of "delightfully wandering among flowers" and there will be eight galleries and four areas with different themes, covering a total of over 30 hectares. Admission is completely free, so visitors shouldn't hesitate to come and enjoy the beauty of central Taiwan's flowers.
A fantastic 3D flower carpet
Just imagine a 24-meter-wide pop-up book that includes a five-story-high "Magical Castle" and a giant tree cultivated from magic beans. A caterpillar looking like something out of "Alice in Wonderland" is wiggling on a mushroom, while Richard Parker the Tiger (of "Life of Pi" fame) stands in a boat on a sparkling blue river. Peter Pan can also be seen, flying through the air. All these spectacles are part of this year's festival, as the flower carpet combines famous fairytales with Ang Lee's "Life of Pi" to create a marvelous, 3D flower carpet.
"The earth is my outfit" flower carpet features a six-meter-tall rabbit wearing an outfit made with beautiful flowers--a symbol of eco-friendly, sustainable development that coexists peacefully with the earth. "The mountain cherry blossoms" area features two themes--blush-red Taiwan cherry blossoms and the White-eared Sibia, an endemic Taiwan bird with a beautifully-striking white eyeline. The above three themes promise to be magnificent spectacles that will undoubtedly provide visitors with a whole new experience.
Four themed areas filled with 'floral and herbal' creativity
Four themed areas－tourism; movies and culture; sports and healthcare; and eco-friendliness—consist of 15 exhibition zones featuring elaborately-created installation art made of flowers that combines central Taiwan's tourist features and fairytales. For example, after drinking a "magical potion", Alice's body shrinks so she can enter a fairyland through the small door while, in this case, the "magical potion" is actually Laijia liquor factory's famous Kaoliang liquor. "Pretty Tung Blossoms" is an installation artwork that combines Hakka "xin ding ban" (newborn cakes) with Tung blossoms. There is also a "Happy Wedding and Proposal" area where couples can ride in a carriage drawn by horses from Houli Horse Ranch as the transportation to their wedding here, surrounded by beautiful flowers.
In the "Black Ducks" area, tourists can take a look at a "grown-up" yellow rubber duck, which has become a local Taiwan black duck. Another "eco-friendly" area features the under-construction BRT blue line stations and Taiwan White Dolphins, which are both eco-friendly and low-carbon related issues that residents are concerned about.
In addition, the "Flower Sea" area includes dozens of hectares of tickseed flowers, sun hemp and sunflowers, while this year's "Flower Gallery" consists of eight themes, including Orchids, Rice, the Happy Agricultural Village, Happy Flowers, Tourism and Life, the Forest, Herbs, and Agricultural Tourism.
Agricultural products as attractive as flowers
Besides the beautifully-designed flower carpet, agricultural products and local food are part of the 2013 Xinshe Flower Festival. There are 110 booths in the Taichung City Agricultural Products Promotion Area, where visitors can check out and purchase local agricultural products, thereby supporting local businesses and culture. In addition to tasty delicacies that can only be found in traditional markets, the Taichung City Famous Food and Products Promotion Area will also feature creative cuisine provided by well-known Taichung hotels.
The Xinshe Agricultural Products and Delicacies Area will also be collecting votes for the Top 10 Snacks. Visitors who participate by casting their ballot will get the chance to win hotel vouchers and agricultural products. Thus, in just a single location, visitors can enjoy beautiful flowers, eat delicious local food, and experience the best that Taichung can offer. Also don't forget to use this opportunity to visit other tourist spots in Xinshe and nearby mountain areas, where there's even more waiting for you!