The annual Shanghai Tourism Festival this year runs from September 14 to October 6 at various venues around the city.
The festivities start with the Inauguration Grand Parade from 19:30 to 20:30 on September 14.
More than 20 colourful floats and 30 performance groups from home and abroad will stage excellent entertainment along Huaihai Zhonglu.
Locals and visitors alike can view exotic customs and popular performances from foreign countries on show in the parade. The floats can also be seen at other locations around the city on each day of the festival.
Organizers invite all residents to select the most convenient time and place for them to watch the parade and anyone who wishes may dress up and participate.
Also on opening day is the Inauguration Grand Carnival at Century Plaza on Nanjing Donglu. Starting at 19:00pm, the carnival will last until the following morning. Young people can party all night there.
Last year, the organisers felt the carnival could have been more successful because Chinese people were not used to too much excitement and tended to stay calm. This year, to warm up the crowds, the Shanghai Municipal Tourism Commission has invited famous singers, pop groups and rock&roll bands from China, South Korea, Brazil and Japan to the stage. Pop dancers will also lead the audience in "hot dancing" and it is hoped that, this time, the carnival will be a real party.
The two most expensive activities in the festival will be the musical fireworks performance and "Golden Storm" from Las Vegas magician Brett Daniels.
Fireworks are scheduled on September 20 and 30, and on October 3 and 6 in Pudong Century Park. The fireworks will be accompanied by music performances and laser light displays. This year, fireworks experts from Spain, the Netherlands and Canada will show their latest works. Admission prices range from 70 to 500 yuan (US$8.50 to US$60.50).
Brett Daniels will perform in the Shanghai Gymnastic Centre and prices range from 80 to 580 yuan (US$9.70 to US$70). If you missed David Copperfield, don't miss Brett Daniels - the tickets are better value!
For overseas visitors the festival offers the opportunity "To Be a One-Day Shanghainese". For the full length of the festival, foreign visitors will be invited to join local families in the Caoyang Community.
The invitation extends to seeing how the locals live, chatting with them and enjoying meals of local dishes. This activity has proved to be most attractive to overseas visitors in the past.
English speakers are welcome to go to Luxun Park during the festival where, at the Sun Flower English Corner, parties called "Night of English" will be held. Plays will also be performed in the park.
The Shanghai Yangtze German Beer Festival has a high reputation among beer lovers, especially those from Germany. It will be held in the Renaissance Yangtze Shanghai Hotel from September 19 to 28. Apart from beer, German food and a band from Bavaria will add to the fun.
For those who would like to venture a little further away, the festival offers several choices.
Kite flying will be presented at Fengxian Bay Tourist Zone in Fengxian County. From October 1 to 5, specialist kite flyers from China and abroad will display their skills and organisers are hoping for sunny and windy days.
Cross-country orientation competitions will be held in Sheshan Mountain.
West Sheshan Mountain is the only cross-country orientation location in Shanghai to be designed and approved by the World Park Orientation Sports Organization. Taking advantage of the lakes and terrain, running, rowing and cycling events plus modern outdoor sports such as rock climbing will be conducted under professional supervision.
Qingpu District is another attraction, with its ancient town of Zhujiajiao, and visitors can attend folk performances and view handicraft making there.
Da Guan Yuan (Grand View Garden) is another scenic spot in the district. A series of performances such as multi-genre operas, lantern riddles, Buddhist ceremonies and crab banquets will recreate the way of life described in the famous story, Dreams of Red Mansions. The activities there will run from September 13 to November 17.
The Farmer Painting of Jinshan District is said to be a traditional folk art treasure of China.
Although local farmers don't have much educational experience of art, their talent should never be underestimated.
The rich colours and creative lines of the paintings about village life are sought after by people from home and abroad. They can be found in Fengjing Town and special activities reflecting the culture of the old town will be organised from September 14 to October 6.
Chongming Island is another place that should not be missed. In Dongping State Forest Park, the views of sunrise, the river at sunset, fishing, crabbing, melon and fruit picking await the visitor. The island is the choice for anyone wanting to spend time with nature.
Then there is always the downtown area. Try Guilin Park to enjoy the osmanthus, stroll along Huaihai Lu to share the happiness of all the couples preparing for their wedding ceremonies or go shopping in the various markets.
Last, but not least, have a look at the animal sports fair in Shanghai Safari Park.
( Shanghai Star September 12, 2002)