River Hongbao to be held at Gardens by the Bay this year
Event is free but will be ticketed as part of crowd control measures due to the pandemic
River Hongbao will take place at Gardens by the Bay this year in an unprecedented move to ensure the safety of visitors amid the pandemic.
An iconic part of the Chinese New Year celebrations here, River Hongbao began in 1987 and was previously held at The Float@Marina Bay.
While live performances have been cancelled this year due to safe management measures, festival-goers can still look forward to pre-recorded dance and getai performances.
"After extensive deliberation, planning and consultation... we are confident we have put in place robust safety protocols," said Mr Tan Ai Hock, chairman of this year's River Hongbao organising committee.
The event, which runs from next Wednesday till Feb 16, is free but ticketed as part of crowd control measures.
As part of the festival, 24 lantern sets in the shape of peacocks, butterflies and the 12 zodiac animals will light up Gardens by the Bay.
Mostly located at the Supertree Grove and The Meadow, they include an 18m-tall God of Fortune centrepiece display next to a golden ox, gold coins and dollar notes.
There will also be a floating lantern display at the Dragonfly Lake depicting spring blossoms and butterflies.
Another lantern set, the Wishing Well, honours the Chinese New Year tradition of casting coins for good luck.
All proceeds collected will be donated to charity.
Gardens by the Bay chief executive Felix Loh said: "While this year's edition has been scaled back... we hope the occasion will still bring some cheer and joy to our community."
Visitors will have to book a time slot on the River Hongbao website at https://riverhongbao.sg. Time slots will be released in batches from 11am tomorrow.
Up to 2,000 visitors are allowed per time slot - daytime slots are 90 minutes long while night-time slots are two hours long. Each person can register up to four people per booking.
Visitors will be assigned to one of three entrances to the Gardens to prevent crowding.
"More than 100 volunteers, safe distancing ambassadors and uniformed auxiliary police officers will be deployed to prevent crowding," said the River Hongbao organising committee.
While overseas dance troupes were a highlight in past editions, Singaporean performers will take centre stage this year.
Various pre-recorded performances will be screened nightly on a stage and live-streamed on the River Hongbao website and Facebook page.
An exhibition on the history of lion dance in Singapore will also be on display.