GEORGE TOWN: It’s going to be carnival time in Penang this month with plenty of action-packed events lined up, including the return of the century-old Chingay procession which has been on hold for the last two years.
In fact, there will be two Chingay processions – one on the island planned for Christmas Day and another on the mainland in January.
“No date has been set for the mainland procession and an announcement will be made by state tourism and creative economy committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin soon,” said Tiong Hua Sports and Cultural Association of Kepala Batas chairman Lay Hock Peng.
The Chingay processions are just two of the many events planned. The colourful state Christmas Celebration 2022 will also be back after two years.
Organised by the Penang Harmony Corporation and the Christian Federation of Malaysia, it will be held on Saturday at the Esplanade from 5pm to 10pm.
Another major event that is making a comeback is the Butterworth Fringe Festival, which highlights the arts, culture and heritage of Penang.
It will be held at the Padang Pemuda Merdeka in Butterworth on Saturday and Sunday.
Meanwhile, the Penang Bridge International Marathon this Sunday is expected to attract around 25,000 runners.
Anticipation is running high for the event as it will be the first marathon here since the Covid-19 pandemic struck in 2020.
From Dec 17 to 18, Penang Halal International (PHI) is organising the Penang International Halal Food and Heritage Festival, also at the Esplanade, from 9am to 11pm.
The famed Pesta Pulau Pinang is already under way, with a variety of stalls offering bargains, food and drinks as well as amusement rides at the Pesta Ground in Sungai Nibong.
The month-long event from Nov 26 will be held until Dec 31. It is open daily from 6pm to midnight.
Penang Island City Council is organising the annual City Walk and City Ride 2023 on the first and second day of the new year.
With so many events in the state, hotels are reporting a surge in bookings.
Malaysian Association of Hotels Penang chapter chairman Tony Goh said occupancy was nearing 50%, which is considered good in the current market.
“During the non-festive period, hotels normally record 30% occupancy and business is picking up,” he said.
“With the school holidays and long weekend during Christmas, I can see a productive month for hotels,” he added.
“We are expecting 80% occupancy or more,” said The Prestige Hotel general manager Melvin Ooi.
Shopping malls in George Town and mainland Penang have also set up their Christmas decorations.
Design Village Outlet Mall assistant marketing manager Suly Ooi said all retail outlets at the mall are also offering up to 85% discount.
“Shoppers who spend RM300 and above have a chance to win lucky draw prizes from Nov 25 until Jan 2.”
She said Santa Claus would also make an appearance every weekend from the first weekend of December.
Those interested in the City Walk and City Ride can find more details at https://howei.com/event_details/cityride2023 and https://howei.com/event_details/citywalk2023.