Chaoyang park carnival expectations dashed
Visitors selecting products sold at the carnival Photo: Yang Jie
The 8th Chaoyang International Spring Carnival, which concluded at Chaoyang Park Friday, disappointed some visitors because of its "non-international" flavor.
The carnival, first held in 2002, has been trying to distinguish itself from traditional temple fairs by adding foreign elements. According to the organizing committee, it was mainly composed of performances and delicacies from all over the world, the same as previous years.
To many visitors' displeasure, however, there were not as many special performances as expected. A white-collar worker surnamed Zhao said that she had high expectations of the carnival before she went there Tuesday.
"I didn't see even one performance by foreigners," she said.
Li Youping, the director of the organizing committee, said there were a variety of performances by foreign performers every day, and there is a special stage to show Greek culture. But only Chinese performers could be seen performing Chinese folk songs on the stage entitled "Meet in Aegean Sea" Friday afternoon.
The delicacies from all over the world turned out to be some simple food cooked by migrant workers. A woman told the Global Times that the so-called Spanish delicacy "Churros" tasted the same as Chinese fried bread sticks. A vendor selling milk tea said they are just common drinks made by her.
Zhao said she didn't eat anything there. "The environment looks very bad." Actually, most of the food was Chinese traditional snacks, such as lamb shashliks.
Some visitors also complained about the souvenirs on sale. A web user said in his blog that he had planned to buy some foreign specialties, but all the vendors were just selling some bad quality simple dolls.
"I felt I was in a town or village fair instead of an international carnival," said Zhao.
Kurt Himmler, an American in Beijing, said that it's an interesting activity, as people can feel different cultures here. As for the foreign delicacies, he said, "you can hardly taste authentic food here."
Li Youping said the carnival will carry on as citizens are in urgent need of cultural exchanges, and their goal is to make the carnival a world-famous activity like the Edinburgh International Festival.