Friday, 20 December 2013 00:05
By Cheranka Mendis
Tipped to be the year’s biggest public celebration in Colombo, Chatham Street has been decked in red and declared a Christmas zone with ample activities for families to gather and enjoy the festivities and the merriment of the season.
A concept of Secretary Defence and Urban Development Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the main objective behind the celebrations is to promote the area as a hang-out spot for families and friends in the evening. With the Dutch Hospital Shopping Precinct fast gaining popularity among both locals and internationals, the area adjoining the building is expected to be promoted as a place for families to gather and enjoy after a hard day of work.
Speaking to Daily FT Urban Development Authority Head of Business Development Dhananjaya Siriwardena noted that as main organisers of the event, the area has been transformed to a temporary fair-like setting with gaming, food and other stalls lined up.
Opened from 14 December and continued till the 31, the official launch will take place this Friday, he said. “However, the area is open with ample opportunity for people to enjoy the season without giving much thought to life’s other stresses.”
Siriwardena noted that some 20 stalls are currently operating down Chatham Street, even though by end this week the number is expected to rise to 35-50.
Main sponsor, Cargills have set up a KFC, Cargills Magic and Kist Nectar stalls; while cosponsors Abans and Softlogic has also put up stalls showcasing an array of electronic items. More stalls featuring clothes, toys and even Christmas trees among others are to be expected. A special play zone has also been marked for children to enjoy while parents shop about.
A food fiesta will also be held in the area featuring a number of leading names in the industry.
Musical shows and carol performances will also take place during the evenings. Siriwardena noted that Bishop House of Colombo has been instrumental in getting the carol performances organised, with special thanks to Rev. Fr. Anthony. Accordingly, five choirs will perform on four days at the venue. On 20 December all performers are from Kotte, while on the 21, 22 and 23 performances will be from Kaluthara, Thalangama and Kotte.
The country’s tallest Christmas tree is also in the vicinity which was officially lit up last Saturday (14 December) in conjunction to the night races. The entire area has been illuminated, he said.