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2019 Taiwan Lantern Festival centerpiece unveiled

Children display pig-shaped handheld paper lanterns designed for the 2019 Taiwan Lantern Festival Jan. 3 in Taipei City. (CNA)

Children display pig-shaped handheld paper lanterns designed for the 2019 Taiwan Lantern Festival Jan. 3 in Taipei City. (CNA)
 

The main and handheld lanterns for the 2019 Taiwan Lantern Festival were unveiled by the Tourism Bureau under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications Jan. 3 in Taipei City.
 
Spotlighting the prominence of the fishing industry in the festival’s host county of Pingtung in southern Taiwan, the 16-meter-tall centerpiece depicts a bluefin tuna jumping out of the sea. The main lantern will be the center of a dazzling evening light and sound show staged every 30 minutes throughout the Feb. 19 to March 3 event.
 
The centerpiece is set to be erected offshore at the main exhibition site in Dapeng Bay. Boat services will allow visitors to get a close-up look at the lantern and view the evening light spectacle from the water.
 
This year’s handheld lanterns symbolize the upcoming Year of the Pig in the Chinese zodiac and come in blue, red and yellow varieties. About 80,000 of the paper items will be distributed at Dapeng, according to the Tourism Bureau.
 
Speaking at the unveiling ceremony, Pingtung Magistrate Pan Men-an said the festival is an excellent opportunity to showcase the agricultural produce, culture and natural wonders of Taiwan’s southernmost county. After the conclusion of the event, the centerpiece lantern will remain on display, serving as a new landmark to promote the local tourism industry, he added.
 
Taking place over some 40 hectares at three venues in Dapeng, Donggang and Pingtung City, this year’s festival is expected to garner up to 10 million visits over its 13-day run, the bureau said.
 
First staged in Taipei City in 1990, the annual festival has been held at a different location every year since 2001, allowing the cities and counties of Taiwan to show off their unique cultures, cuisines and characteristics. This is Pingtung’s first time hosting the event. (KWS-E)