Guest Post by Daphne Liu.
Taipei is indisputably a playground of interactive activities for tourists and locals like, and reigns king as a top destination for which a myriad of festivals find a home in. And despite the unfavorable conditions of the humid and muggy summer, Taipei is the ideal embodiment of the quintessential getaway for an island with no shortage of affordable and engaging activities. Taipei’s jam-packed roster of daily, weekly, and monthly comings and goings is a veritable testament to its versatility as a family-friendly cultural and educational hot-spot. So put your best foot forward and find out how you can best spend the forthcoming sun-drenched days with these major events!
With images of Taipei that are predominantly smog-filled city centers teeming with night markets and mopeds, it comes as no surprise that the perpetually sun-filled sandy beaches of Fulong Beach don’t register as the token Taipei tourist locale. Part entertainment, part sport, and part art — the Fulong International Sand Sculpture Art Festival is proof positive of the modern, new strides that are being taken by Taiwanese artists breaking the molds of conventional craft mediums. The Northeastern coast of Taipei is home to one of Taiwan’s two principal sand sculpture events that spans a period of two months, excellently stocked with jaw-dropping sand sculptures redolent of this year’s “childhood memories” theme. Attendees this year will bear witness to a record-breaking number of 77 international and local sand masterpieces that will make it impossible to tear your eyes away from the startlingly realistic art pieces of pop-culture references from movies, comic books, and cartoon characters made out of sand.
Dates: May 4 – June 30, 2013
Group: NT$90/person for groups of 20+ members
Priority: NT$80 for students or members 65+ years old
Child: NT$10 for children 110 cm tall or shorter
Other: NT$40 for physically or mentally handicapped
Photo via Hsin Yi Wang
Canada may have the Toronto International Film Festival, and France may have Cannes, but the Taipei Film Festival also boasts a first-rate lineup of nearly 160 screenings ranging from domestic to national films from over 40 countries. Getting underway on June 28th at Taipei Zhongshan Hall, the 15th Taipei Film Festival introduces the first film of many in its month-long program — Soul, a thriller from Taiwanese director Chung Mong-Hong. Closing the festival are two films — Over Troubled Water and Taipei Factory — featuring a multitude of up-and-coming Taiwanese directors. Showcasing scores of films up for awards under the Taipei Film Awards category (e.g. Narrative Features, Documentaries, Short Films, Animations), the Taipei Film Festival also serves as an international stage whereby it projects multinational voices hailing from countries like Poland, Brazil, and Turkey — the capital of which, Istanbul, is the official “City In Focus” this year. With its faithful dedication to the national and international slants of cinema, the 15th Taipei Film Festival welcomes young and old moviegoers into an interactive and enriching environment bursting at the seams with romance, drama, and adventure.
Dates: June 28 – July 20, 2013
Taiwan International Balloon Fiesta (鹿野國際熱氣球節)
Heralding the start of warm weather, the Taiwan International Balloon Fiesta is more than a worldwide ballooning spectacle. Held in Taitung County — a historically impoverished region — the yearly event helps support its economy by drawing in droves of tourists — upwards of 800,000 people — who support Taitung’s burgeoning ballooning industry. Last year’s participants witnessed Taiwan’s first female pilot and Taitung native, Jessica Wu, steer Taiwan’s first branded balloons. Although this event is more of a visual than physical experience, you won’t want to miss the two-month long memorable hot air balloon extravaganza. Holding the 2012 title of Taiwan’s second most popular summer event, the Fiesta is as easy on the eyes as it is on the wallet. Hot air ballooning as a recreational pastime is a recently developed summertime craze, but not one that is unheard of within the confines of Taiwan. Having expanded from its humble beginnings, Taitung’s balloon festival proudly bears eight trained pilots at the forefront of this still growing industry that has miraculously breathed a new life into Taitung county with hopes for a favorable, sustainable future. With Taitung right at your fingertips, isn’t it about time for that long-awaited hot air balloon ride?
Duration: June 1 — August 11, 2013
HoHaiYan Summer Rock Festival (貢寮海洋音樂季)
From to July 15, HoHaiYan Summer Rock Festival has expanded from a three-day to five-day event with daily themes like “Band of Taiwan Aboriginals” or “Popular Chinese Rock Bands” that pay tribute to different aspects of Taiwanese pop culture. As one of three main Taiwanese music festivals, HoHaiYan is unparalleled as the only beachside festival that beckons thousands of teenage and adult fans out from the confines of the car and smog-filled city to Fulong Beach to experience the rich playful backdrop of the sandy beach and breaking waves. HoHaiYan meaning – the sea – can be traced back to the indigenous Taiwanese Amis tribe’s native language and is an attestation to its promise of local, underground music alongside more well-known, popular rock groups that collectively build a framework for Taiwan’s traditional heritage that is grounded in the legend of “Ho-Hai-Yan” as the Taiwanese aborigines’ melody for alluding to the ocean. If you’re a music enthusiast, get ready to slip on your swimming trunks or bathing suits in preparation for HoHaiYan because this enjoyable and influential rock event in Taiwan’s northeast coast is showing off everything it has to offer by providing not only musical performances, but also other fun activities in its program that lend a wholesome sense of the soon-to-stay summer climate.
Dates: July 11 – July 15, 2013
Photo via TimeForTW
Hidden amongst the industrial foliage of Daan Road, Fubon Art Foundation’s annual Very Fun Park is held in Songshan Cultural and Creative Park and is a breathtaking and imaginative contemporary art demonstration of participating artists’ veritable talent. Marking its eighth year, Fubon’s Very Fun Park is proving once again what happens when the wonderful mix of international and national artists perfectly blooms in the summer months of July, August, and September. Past years have featured central ideas like 2012’s Power of Color theme. As the date draws nearer, the Fubon Art Foundation’s website will begin releasing locations and events. Knowing just how to rope in the masses by not being too serious or too niche, the Fubon Very Fun Park doesn’t do anything else but be a space into which you can dive further and further into the depths of artwork in a structure that feels distinctive to Taiwan with its unfailing guarantees of bestowing fun for everybody, regardless of age.
Dates: Late July~Early September
See our previous articles about this event: