|Da Lats festival of flowers closes|
|11:02' 04/01/2010 (GMT+7)|
For latecomers to the festival, events still open today including Da Lat Open Golf Tournament, Lang Biang Mountain Climbing Competition and Wine Gala.
Organisers said they could not measure visitor numbers to the annual event despite all hotel rooms being occupied as many holidaymakers were forced to share rooms at private houses.
The three-day 'Da Lat - the city of thousands kinds of flowers' festival which started on Saturday, is also one of the lead-up events to celebrate the Thang Long - Ha Noi 1,000th anniversary.
Though the festival officially opened on Saturday, visitors to Da Lat and locals have been enjoying the festive vibe since Thursday.
"This flower festival is not only to introduce a city that is world renowned for its flowers but to promote the country's landscape and the people's unique cultural identities," President Nguyen Minh Triet told the opening ceremony.
The President said the festival had aided Da Lat City's socio-economic development by attracting investors and boosted tourism with visitor numbers exceeding expectations.
The festival was a reminder that flowers were not the only symbol of the highland city with horse-drawn carriages, old cars and carts parading for the opening ceremony on Saturday evening.
Beautiful lighting arrangements in the shape of peach flowers in the stage, as colorful fireworks burst above the romantic Xuan Huong Lake. Hundreds of girls dressed in traditional costumes of 54 ethnic groups around the country marched on stage with flower lanterns in hand. Giant video images from around Da Lat followed.
Girls balanced bamboo poles on their shoulders with flower baskets at either end on the way to market. Horse drawn carriages with flowers clip-clopped beside old beetle Volkswagens and Porches. Couples in sweaters and scarves, holding umbrellas walked side by side in the chill of winter.
Provincial People's Committee Chairman Huynh Duc Hoa said that the Prime Minister's recognition of Da Lat as 'the city of flowers' in December was an impetus for socio-economic development making this flower festival a milestone.
The events started on Friday with a huge flower market and exhibition at the city's Flower Garden.
An interesting part of the exhibition was a painting contest with entries from 700 students in grade 1 to 9 from 45 schools in the city. A lot of the entries were paintings of the city's symbols, including Cock Church, Xuan Huong Lake and the city's Flower Garden.
"I was proud and excited this morning about coming here to draw the city's Flower Garden," said Do Doan Thao Nhi, an eighth grader at Phan Chu Trinh School.
All the paintings will stay on exhibit in the garden till the festival ends.
On Saturday morning, 200 tandem-bicycles decorated with flowers were pedaled around Xuan Huong Lake by teenage boys and girls.
"My team decorated our four tandem bikes with flowers in the shape of a dragon because we wanted to celebrate the Flower Festival 2010 and the Thang Long - Ha Noi 1000th anniversary together," said Tran Van Hung, a member of Phu Dong High School's Youth Union.
The festival's message to flower growers is to join hand and cooperate to make flowers the major driving force behind the city's development.
VietNamNet/Viet Nam News
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