SINGAPORE: Orchard Road, the iconic shopping belt of Singapore, is gearing up for a spectacular Christmas season in 2023.
The festivities promise to be bigger, brighter, and more magical, featuring the first Christmas Eve street party and the introduction of three enchanting Christmas villages.
A Glittering Milestone: 40 Years of “Christmas on A Great Street”
“Christmas on A Great Street,” the annual holiday light-up event that marks the beginning of the festive season on Orchard Road, is celebrating its 40th anniversary.
This year also coincides with the 25th anniversary of the Orchard Road Business Association (Orba).
The Light-Up Ceremony, set to be officiated by President Tharman Shanmugaratnam at Shaw House Urban Plaza on November 16, will be a momentous occasion.
Mark Shaw, the Chairman of Orba, revealed that the 2022 Christmas on A Great Street attracted over four million visitors.
In 2023, the aim is to draw approximately five to six million visitors, reaching pre-Covid-19 pandemic levels.
To achieve this, Orchard Road will host its Christmas Eve street party, spanning from Paterson junction to Bideford junction.
The entire stretch will be closed to traffic from 6 pm onwards, with festivities continuing from 8 pm to 12:30 am.
The street party will feature a myriad of activities, including performances, Christmas carols, Santa Meet & Greet sessions, a market, food trucks, and a countdown to Christmas.
Additionally, Orba will be working closely with relevant authorities to ensure proper crowd control and security measures for this one-time event in 2023.
Three “magical” villages
Moreover, visitors can look forward to not one but three great Christmas villages.
These villages, located outside Shaw House, Ngee Ann City, and Plaza Singapura, will offer carnival rides, games, pop-up stores, and food and beverage kiosks.
The village at Shaw House Urban Plaza will open on Nov 24 and feature attractions like a double-storey carousel and ferris wheel, among other rides and games.
The remaining two villages, at Plaza Singapura and Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza, will open on Dec 1 and Dec 8, respectively.
The light-up theme aims to capture the imagination of children with a cotton candy cloud dreamscape filled with Christmas trees, bells, teddy bears, reindeer, and candy canes.
Warm LED lights in shades of white, yellow, pink, and turquoise will float in the air, creating a dreamy atmosphere.
Organized by Orba and the Community Chest, the Light-Up Ceremony will also serve as a fundraiser, supporting over 100 social service agencies running more than 200 critical programs.
Notably, Hitachi Asia has been the main sponsor of the annual light-up for 33 consecutive years.
AR magic and illumination
The Orchard Road experience will be further enhanced with augmented reality (AR) projections in partnership with OUE Limited on the facade of Hilton Singapore Orchard.
Additionally, all 25 glass panels lining the pedestrian walkway from Ion Orchard to Mandarin Gallery will feature AR displays.
These outdoor visual projections will be active from Nov 1 to Jan 1, 2024.
Furthermore, music from speakers mounted on 44 lamp posts along Orchard Road will accompany visitors.
On Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, a countdown clock will help revelers mark the start of Christmas and the New Year.
Moreover, Orba is committed to reducing its carbon footprint, repurposing energy-efficient LED lights, and installing solar panels to power two set pieces located in front of Mandarin Gallery and Plaza Singapura.
According to The Straits Times, the association will also collaborate with the National Parks Board’s Garden City Fund Plant-A-Tree Programme to plant 100 new trees along Orchard Road and throughout Singapore.