|1. Amid familiar surroundings at the Guizhou Garden, students from the province studying in Beijing celebrate their various hometowns. 2. Foreign participants celebrate as they reach the finish line in the 5-km 'color run'. 3. Local performers entertain tourists with a drum dance. (China Daily)|
The ninth China International Garden Expo has created a new, popular tourism destination in the capital city this year.
Covering 513 hectares, the expo held in Beijing's Fengtai district has already received nearly 2 million visitors from both home and abroad since its opening on May 18.
About 20,000 tourists have visited the expo every day in average. On June 11, the number hit a record high of 75,000 on a single day.
Set to close in November, the expo is the biggest event that Beijing has since the 2008 Summer Olympic Games.
Its many highlights include not only the variety of plants, finely designed gardens in different styles, but also the various cultural and interactive activities.
Every day at 10:30 am a grand float parade cruises across the expo park, turning it to a large carnival.
A living statue performance was recently added. Dressed in exaggerated costumes and accessories, artists walk along the parade, stopping from time to time to pose in front of curious visitors.
Organizers said they plan to add more new, interesting performances to the parade, for example, stilts walkers, circus clown jugglers, a kung fu show, a marching band and bianlian, the traditional Chinese art of changing masks.
According to organizers, in the three months since the expo opened, they have organized 368 cultural performances with about 22,000 performers.
These include shows brought by performers from eight cities to display their distinguished cultural characteristics. The seven districts of Beijing also contributed their own performances.
On July 19, an international carnival was held in the expo park with artists from India, Cuba and Israel impressing the audience with exotic entertainment.
On Aug 10, a "color run" at the expo park had 10,000 participants joining the fun 5-km run.
To ensure visitors a pleasant experience in the expo park, organizers have made detailed efforts to improve services.
They arranged a large number of volunteers and security staff so one can easily be found within every 100-meter radius. Special telephones have been set up in crowded areas so visitors can call for help in the event of an emergency.
After the expo opened, organizers increased amenities based on feedback. They installed more chairs, mobile toilets and put up maps.
The services have paid off and many visitors said they enjoyed the garden expo very much.
On June 21, it welcomed its 1 millionth visitor, a woman named Anina from the US. She called the expo park a "nice and lucky place of dreams" and said she wants to bring more friends to share the fun.
In August, a group of about 100 journalists from both home and abroad were invited to the expo. They spoke highly of the expo and its comfortable facilities and services.
This month a new guest will come to the expo park - the giant rubber duck designed by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman. The yellow duck already won a lot of Chinese fans after it was displayed in Hong Kong's Victoria Harbor earlier this year.
Hofman said that the amiable duck will bring happiness and childhood memories to people, making it a good match to the expo park.
And the duck won't be alone. The expo park has more than 230 hectares of water and is a paradise for many kinds of birds.
In addition to commonly seen sparrows, magpies, larks and swifts, there are also hoopoes, terns and various kinds of herons. If they are lucky, visitors could even see spotted doves, black-winged stilts, goldfinches, mallards and other wild ducks.
With such impressive ecological environment, it's hard to imagine that the park used to be a garbage dump.
The expo has brought significant changes to the local landscape and serves as a good example of the improved environment of the capital city.
A model of eco-friendliness, the park also has widely used energy-saving designs like solar power generation and intelligent irrigation systems.