Revelers flock to Xinyi District for New Year's Eve bash (update)
Taipei, Dec. 31 (CNA) Braving cold weather, a huge crowd of revelers gathered in Taipei City Hall Square on Sunday night ready to usher in 2018 at a countdown party featuring a wide array of dance and music performances.
Recognized as the most popular New Year's Eve celebration in Taiwan, the Taipei countdown party, themed "Happy Together" this year, attracted a huge crowd that was also anticipating the annual fireworks show at the Taipei 101 skyscraper.
Many of the visitors this year came from overseas to see the Taipei 101 fireworks extravaganza, expected to last six minutes long this year.
Dirk, a flight attendant from San Diego, California, said he has visited many places around the world just for the New Year Eve's countdown, including Melbourne, Sydney, Moscow, New York and Shanghai.
This was his fourth visit to Taipei but the first time to see the New Year's Eve pyrotechnics. He arrived near the skyscraper at 1 p.m. armed with his cameras and gear just for the show.
"I hope to see spectacular fireworks," Dirk told CNA.
He said he chose Taipei this year because it was one of the first places in the world to witness the first day of 2018.
Shinobu from Osaka, Japan, who travels often to Taiwan with her family, said she has visited Taiwan nearly a dozen times in recent years.
But it was also her first time to attend the New Year's Eve countdown in front of the former world's tallest building in Taiwan's capital.
Here with her son Kenta and her mother, Shinobu said their friends saw the spectacular images of the Taipei 101 New Year's Eve fireworks show on TV last year and highly recommended that she see it in person this year.
Mikaela Song and her husband Michael Song were in Xinyi District Sunday night after traveling to Taiwan from the Philippines especially for the celebrations and countdown party.
Ike Mayangsari, an Indonesian migrant caretaker, said she has attended the bash with her friends every year since starting to work in Taiwan in 2015 because the district is awash in lights and has a really festive atmosphere.
For Nur Abdul Rasyid, Muhammad Mauludin Anwar, Achmad Iabal, and Pay, Indonesian students working on a farm in Toucheng in Yilan County under a working holiday program between Taiwan and Indonesia, they will be experiencing the Taipei 101 fireworks for the first time.
"We traveled from Yilan to celebrate the New Year by train. It took us about two hours. Taipei 101 is the icon of Taiwan," Nur Abdul Rasyid said.
According to organizers, the six-minute firework is the longest in the history of the event, and will involve 16,000 fireworks to be augmented with an LED light show.