Today: 24 Dec 2004
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Flowers blossom in Da Lat all the year round

The hills of Da Lat will come alive with flowers, flags, and fireworks during a flower festival carnival from December 18 to 25.

Da Lat Flower Festival 2004 aims to. introduce the Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands) city's rich botanical resources as a vital component to its continued growth, deputy chairman of Lam Dong province's People's Committee Truong Van Thu said.

"The festival is an opportunity for Da Lat to show off its natural beauty," Thu said. He said it was also a test run for the first national flower festival, which Da Lat will host in 2005. The festival's centrepiece will be a five-part street carnival - Hues of Da Lat Flowers - from Hoa Binh Street to Da Lat Square.

Blending culture with botany, the carnival will begin with a parade of hundreds of actors, dressed in plant and flower costumes as well as the traditional dress of the ethnic minorities who built up the city.

The second part Flower Legends - will see vans, filled with roses, daisies and wildflowers, cruising along the city's main streets. ' Topiaries, modelled around vehicles like trains, strollers, bicycles, motorbikes, cars and cranes, will take to the streets during the third stage, Improvised Floats.

As the festival coincides with the wild sunflower season, the carnival will be awash in gold and the fourth part - Sunflower Memories - will incorporate the natural symbols of the city. Because of its setting in Da Lat, a favourite romantic getaway for Vietnamese couples, the carnival will, conclude with the Happy Flowers Mass Wedding, which is open to 50 couples from across the country.

A photography show and a flower and bonsai fair will also run during the festival at the Da Lat Flower Park on Le Dai Hanh Street. Set up in flower gardens, the exhibit - DA Lat: the Golden Moments of 2004 - will feature over 200 photographs of DA La t since its establishment in 1893 by French doctor Alexandre Yersin as a colonial hillside retreat.

Da Lat Winter 2004 Fair will highlight tourism opportunities, while Da Lat Rendezvous will feature. performances by six troupes from Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Ba Ria - Vung Tau, Can Tho, and Lam Dong provinces.

About 300km north of Ho Chi Minh City and 1,500m above sea level, Da Lat enjoys a temperate climate of among 14 to 24 degrees Celsius year-round. The city boasts 26 scenic and historical sites, including 2,000 Frenchstyle villas and 37,OOOha of pine forest. Tuyen Lam Lake, Cam Ly Waterfall and the municipal train station are among its top tourist destinations.

ND - (01/11/2004)

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