By Ashley Sim
KUCHING, May 9: The much-anticipated Kuching Festival Food Fair will take place from July 29 to August 21 this year with a target of 250 stalls and 500,000 visitors, says Kuching South City Council (MBKS) mayor Dato Wee Hong Seng.
According to Wee, the festival will take place every evening from 5.30pm to 11pm at the MBKS community hall at Jalan Padungan here.
“This year’s theme will be ‘Kuching’s Best Creative Food & Culture’.
“In conjunction with Kuching’s designation as the ‘Creative City of Gastronomy’, we would like to see more creative food presentations inspired by your culture or ingredients this year.
“This would be our priority, and we welcome everyone to join,” he said at a press conference today.
He mentioned that the upcoming festival would allow vendors to earn extra money, and the organising committee has decided to keep the rental fees the same as in 2019.
“We are organising the festival to provide vendors with an opportunity to earn some money. After all, some people have suffered from the pandemic.
“We will still maintain the rental fees as in 2019, and we will absorb any extra costs,” he added.
The mayor explained that food stalls at the Kuching Festival Food Fair 2019 were priced between RM550 and RM3,000, depending on the size and location.
“Even though the target is 250 stalls, if more applications come in later, the organiser shall find a way to accommodate more stalls.
“The organiser will decide whether to spread the festival out, holding it at different locations based on the number of applications received,” he stated.
He went on to say that they will engage with delivery companies to offer delivery services and provide a drive-thru section for pick-ups, all of which are still under discussion.
Wee remarked that application approval would be based on applicants’ creativity, specifically how to promote and better present local delicacies.
“We hope to see vendors serve a wide variety of food, so please be more creative with your food presentation,” he said.
Furthermore, in terms of crowd control, Wee stated that the organiser would enlist the help of Rela personnel and volunteers to help with the flow.
Meanwhile, Kuching Festival Food Fair organising chairman Goh Tze Hui announced that the trade fair would be discontinued this year, but the garden show and stage performances will continue.
“We allow dine-in with proper standard operating procedures (SOPs) to ensure the safety of all.
“Previously, the Kuching Festival Food Fair 2019 hosted 285 stalls and attracted one million visitors, both locals and foreigners,” Goh said.
He added that the festival had one million visitors in 2019 and that previously, they had 700,000 to 800,000 visitors each year, so they hope to get half a million this year.
“It will be easier to manage the crowds within the community hall,” he claimed.
Moreover, MBKS deputy mayor Hilmy Othman remarked that this year’s Kuching Festival should serve as a start to get things rolling with people embracing normalcy after the pandemic.
“It’s an opportunity for the people to showcase their creative and different food.
“What’s more, the festival is also on the State’s tourism calendar,” Hilmy mentioned.
He also said that previously, the annual festival attracted a good number of tourists from Singapore due to the availability of flights.
“Now that we have Scoot and AirAsia connecting Kuching and Singapore, and with attractive hotel rates, tourists from Singapore should be able to join the festival,” he noted.
Applications for stalls are now open and will close before or at 4pm on May 24.
Forms can be obtained online at https://forms.gle/Bz8M5mtuuRUH18Ba7 or by visiting counter 8 or 9 at the MBKS One-Stop Service Centre from 8.30am to 4pm.
Also present was MBKS councillor Kho Teck Wan. — DayakDaily