Children dressed as new chief executive Carrie Lam stole the show at Cheung Chau bun festival yesterday – and one even added a sour note by moaning that Lam failed to shake hands with her.
The hot and sunny weather drew tens of thousands of people to the island.
The total number of passengers travelling between Central and Cheung Chau on First Ferry from 8am to 9pm was 48,000, a two percent drop from the same period last year.
Also known as Tai Ping Ching Chiu, yesterday was a public holiday for Buddha’s Birthday, with holidaymakers braving temperatures of 31 degree Celsius.
The popular Piu Sik parade – meaning “Floating Colors” – saw 22 teams including 16 mini-floats with children dressed up as celebrities and politicians.
Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and Secretary for Education Eddie Ng Hak- kim, as well as tycoon Li Ka-shing, were among the targets.
Children also dressed up as popular athletes to promote the spirit of Hong Kong. Professional boxer Rex Tso Sing-yu and snooker queen Ng On-yee starred.
Yoyo Ho Ka-yau, four, who wore a light green jacket and pants, played one of the two Carrie Lams, standing gaily on stilts as she was joined by a four- year-old boy who played Ng.
The boy wore a black suit and held a BCA exercise book, a travel book and a figurine of a Japanese hot spring.
Little Yoyo said she was tired but happy after the two-hour parade and thought it was fun, and would like to play another character in next year’s parade. But she added: “I feel a bit upset because Carrie didn’t shake hands with me.” Lam opened the festival.
The designer of Ho’s trolley, Wong Sing-chau, 72, spent a month making it.
“The girl dressed as Carrie Lam was holding an Octopus card, referring to Lam not knowing how to use a card on the MTR,” Wong said, adding he hoped the incoming government can solve the housing problem in Hong Kong.
A message of racial harmony was imparted by a four-year-old Chinese- African girl.
The Hong Kong Cheung Chau Bun Festival Committee urged restaurants to stop selling meat throughout the festival to respect the Buddhist tradition but many restaurants and food stalls still sold meat and fishballs to make up for lost sales.
The owner of Tung Yuen Food stall, Yung, said: “We still followed what the committee said and only sold vegetarian food before the parade. But after 3pm, the Buddha had passed by and the ceremony had finished and we began selling fishball.”
He said business was not good under the new rule as not many visitors liked vegetarian food.
As usual the “Ping On bun,” which means safe and peace in Chinese, were top sellers, with business up 10 to 20 percent.
Grand Plaza Cake Shop owner Kwok Yu-chuen said his shop sold more than 8,000 buns yesterday and had sold more than 60,000 buns since last Wednesday. Although there were fewer visitors than last year, they bought more buns, he said.
Kwok Kam Kee Cake Shop general manager Martin Kwok Yau-tin said: “We sold around 10,000 buns today and we expect to sell more.”
He noted more foreigners and mainland visitors this year though.
A group of 16-year-old exchange students from Italy and Spain – named Arianna, Margherita and Alessandro and Valeria – were first-time festival- goers.
The four secondary school students said they came to the island to witness the traditional festival and added the children in the parade were “adorable.”
Twelve competitors vied for six awards at the bun scrambling competition at Pak Tai Temple Playground which began at midnight.
First Ferry laid on five to six ferries per hour, 200 percent up on the usual service.