By Wu Chun-feng, Yan Hung-chun and William Hetherington / Staff reporters, with staff writer
The Longci Light Festival attracted 190,000 visitors over its seven-week run, the Tainan City Government said yesterday.
The festival, which ended yesterday, was praised online, with a post on its Facebook page calling it “the most beautiful outdoor light festival nationwide.”
Organizers said that they were surprised by the public’s interest in the festival, which was held for the first time.
The event in the small mountain town of Longci attracted more than 18 times the number of local residents, they added.
The festival, which opened on Dec. 21, was originally scheduled to end on Sunday last week, but the city government extended it by a week to accommodate its unexpected popularity, it said.
Tainan Mayor Huang Wei-che (黃偉哲) encouraged the extension and said that the city would hold the festival again at the end of this year.
Visitors over the past week reached about 50,000 people, the city government said.
Local enterprises, including food vendors and the Longci Farmers’ Association’s bamboo charcoal store and workshop, saw their business improve during the festival, it said.
The event, which cost the special municipality NT$7 million (US$232,357), was aimed at boosting tourism in the region between Longci and Yanshuei (鹽水) townships over the Lunar New Year and Lantern Festival periods, the city said.
To avoid light pollution in the city, organizers held the festival in Husingshan Park in Longci, and invited artists to build installations using aluminum wiring and fluorescent lights.
Separately, a flower festival organized by the Changhua County Government attracted about 860,000 people over 16 days, which was about the same as last year, the county said.
The number was still impressive given the effects of the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak, which has caused people to avoid crowds, it said.
Visitors to the festival, which also ended yesterday, took in the sight of colorful flower displays during the day and viewed a light festival in the evenings, it added.
A memorial for people who have died in the outbreak was also on display, which proved popular with visitors, the county government said.