Orchard Road to woo visitors with first Christmas Eve street party, three Christmas villages
Christmas on Orchard Road will be bigger, brighter and more magical in 2023, with the first Christmas Eve street party and three Great Christmas Villages to woo visitors.
Christmas on A Great Street, the signature year-end light-up of Orchard Road heralding the holiday season, will have more fun-filled activities to mark the 40th anniversary of the lighting up of Orchard Road at Christmas, and the 25th anniversary of the Orchard Road Business Association (ORBA).
President Tharman Shanmugaratnam will officiate the Light-Up Ceremony at Shaw House Urban Plaza on Nov 16.
ORBA chairman Mark Shaw said Christmas on A Great Street attracted over four million visitors in 2022. He hopes 2023’s festivities will draw around five to six million visitors, comparable to pre-Covid levels.
The Christmas Eve street party will stretch from Paterson junction to Bideford junction, which will be closed to traffic from 6pm onwards. It will be the venue for a lively street party from 8pm to 12.30am, with performances, Christmas carols, Santa Meet & Greet sessions, market, food trucks, and a countdown to Christmas.
Mr Shaw said OBRA is working closely with the relevant authorities to ensure proper crowd control and security measures for the street party, which will be a one-off event this year.
Visitors can also look forward to three Great Christmas Villages – up from one in 2022 – with carnival rides and games, pop-up stores and food & beverage kiosks located outside Shaw House, Ngee Ann City and Plaza Singapura.
The village at Shaw House Urban Plaza will start from Nov 24, featuring a double-storey carousel and ferris wheel among a variety of rides and games. The remaining two at Plaza Singapura and Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza begin from Dec 1 and Dec 8 respectively.
The Christmas light-up theme captures a child’s imagination as one wanders through a cotton candy cloud dreamscape filled with Christmas trees and bells as well as teddy bears, reindeer, and candy canes. Warm LED lights of white, yellow, pink and turquoise ‘clouds’ float in the air, enhancing the dreamy look and feel.
Organised by ORBA and Community Chest, the Light-Up Ceremony aims to raise funds to support more than 100 social service agencies running over 200 critical social service programmes. Hitachi Asia Ltd has been the main sponsor of the Christmas Light-Up for 33 consecutive years.
There will also be other attractions, such as an augmented reality (AR) projection in partnership with OUE Limited on the façade of Hilton Singapore Orchard. Other AR displays can also be found on any of the 25 glass panels lining the pedestrian walkway from ION Orchard to Mandarin Gallery. All the outdoor visual projections will be switched on from Nov 1 to Jan 1, 2024.
There will be music played synchronously from speakers on 44 lamp posts on both sides of Orchard Road. On Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, a countdown clock will help revellers mark the start of Christmas and the New Year.
ORBA will also be doubling down on efforts to reduce its carbon footprint, such as repurposing energy-efficient LED lights and fixtures, as well as installing solar panels to power the two set pieces located in front of Mandarin Gallery and Plaza Singapura.
ORBA will work with the National Parks Board’s Garden City Fund Plant-A-Tree Programme to plant 100 new trees on Orchard Road as well as the rest of Singapore.
Rejuvenation of Orchard Road
In response to The Straits Times, the Singapore Tourism Board said that in the mid- to long-term, there will be more public-private collaboration to spruce up and inject vibrancy in the area.
These include infrastructure improvements such as creative way-finding features, including “identity markers” to demarcate different zones along the famed shopping stretch, and multi-dimensional experiences such as the new snow-surf-skate attraction TRIFECA , which is opening on Oct 28 on Orchard Road.
There are also signature events such as the Grand Prix Season Singapore precinct party which was held from Sept 8 to 17, 2023, and the upcoming Christmas on a Great Street.
There has also been a spate of new hotels and retailers, while existing properties are undergoing revamp and redevelopment.
Cathay has refreshed its tenancy mix for Cineleisure Orchard. In December, it will launch Golden Village X The Projector, the first collaboration between the two movie operators that will screen blockbusters and mainstream hits as well host as a rich selection of international film festivals, live events and alternative films.
Somerset Belt is being developed to be a vibrant youth precinct which will support youth development and youth aspirations. In particular, *SCAPE is undergoing a makeover, and will introduce new spaces and concept, and is targeted to be completed in 2024.
Creative street furniture will also be installed along the Orchard Road pedestrian walkway to enhance the streetscape and provide visitors with more public seating along the popular shopping street.
Efforts are also underway to transform Orchard Road into a lush green corridor.
A 500m stretch between Buyong and Handy roads will be pedestrianised, while the current 1.3ha Istana Park will be expanded to incorporate Dhoby Ghaut Green and the Penang Road Open Space.
It is estimated to be completed progressively from 2025.