International folklore festival to kick off in Ilan

Ruby Ying, The China Post

Amid the rain and wind brought by typhoon Utor, The Ilan County Commissioner Liu Shou-cheng announced yesterday that the 2001 Ilan International Children’s Folklore & Folkgame Festival (ICFFF) will kick off on July 7 at Chingshui Park in Ilan, introducing a series of exciting games and exhibitions of folk culture from different countries. The sixth event of its kind in Taiwan, ICFFF 2001 is identified by the Tourism Bureau as one of the twelve most important international events taking place in Taiwan in 2001. The event will last 44 days while presenting visitors from home and abroad with a wide variety of water games, music and dance performances, and theme halls featuring the world’s folk art. “We at the Ilan county government believe that a good government is one that makes the children happy,” said Liu at yesterday’s press conference. “That explains exactly the spirit of ICFFF — to satisfy children’s fantasies by incorporating entertainment and education into ICFFF to create the world’s most exciting extravaganza of folk culture.” Since the Ilan county government launched the first ICFFF in the summer of 1996, the annual event has attracted a total of 1.5 million foreign and local visitors to the northeastern county of Taiwan over the past five years.

“Under the sponsorship of the Executive Yuan’s Council for Cultural Affairs, ICFFF has gone beyond its original conception as a cultural event and become an industry that integrates tourism, culture, art, and diplomacy,” Liu remarked. This year’s ICFFF will highlight five theme halls, according to Liu. The most interesting hall of all, said Liu, is the Puppetry Hall, which will feature the legend of Taiwan’s most popular puppet figure — Shih Yen-wen. During the ICFFF 2001, live puppet show based on Shih’s story will be available at the Puppetry Hall. At the end of yesterday’s press conference, the dazzling dance and music brought by Portugal Children’s Folkloric Group of Loule, one of the performing groups at ICFFF 2001, served to give the press an idea of the diversity and uniqueness of this year’s program.