All green for Vegetable Frenzy

PHUKET CITY: Organizers of the annual Vegetarian Festival have announced that all systems are go for the start of this year’s event tomorrow night.

Phuket Provincial Administration Organization (OrBorJor) President Anchalee Vanich-Thepabutr said that in celebration of this year’s festival, falling during the 60th anniversary of HM The King’s accession to the throne, the OrBorJor will put on a range of special activities – including a fireworks display at Saphan Hin on Monday night, starting at 7 pm – many of which will be televised on Thai TV Channel 11, she said.

Phuket City Mayor Somjai Suwannasuppana said municipal workers have finished putting up yellow banners all around the city, and have provided each shrine with 10,000 to 20,000 baht to clean up their grounds before the festival begins.

The city has also dedicated 120 workers to clean up immediately after festival events, including street processions, she said.

Phuket Provincial Police Deputy Commander Chalit Tinthanee said the police security and traffic plan was ready to go into effect and that meetings about traffic, crowd control and use of fireworks have been held between police and all shrines involved in the festival.

Suwalai Pinpradub, Director of Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Region 4 office, said that her agency expects tourists arrival figures for Phuket to hit 4.5 million by year’s end, about the same level as before the tsunami. These arrivals are expected to generate 75 billion baht in tourism revenue for the province, higher than the 73 billion generated in 2004.

Flights to Phuket are almost fully booked from October 21 until the end of the festival and hotel bookings stood at about 70% overall for the entire island, and 80% for the last five days of the festival, she said.

Teerawut Sritularak, Head of the Jui Tui Shrine Foundation, invited all participants to wear yellow T-shirts on October 21, 25 and 28 in honor of HM The King.

Jui Tui Shrine has 30,000 yellow T-shirts on sale at 50 baht each, he said. In normal years, devotees dress in white from head-to-toe as a show of ritual purity for the duration of the festival.

For more details about the Vegetarian Festival, click here.

Vegetarian Festival street parades in Phuket are known to cause major traffic jams. For a list of the daily procession routes, click here.

Phuket News
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