The key highlight of Cheung Chau Jiao Festival - the Bun Scrambling Competition - will be held at the soccer pitch of Pak Tai Temple Playground, Cheung Chau, this Saturday (April 28).
The competition will kick off at midnight after the 11.30pm opening ceremony. Members of the public will have the opportunity to witness how the bun scramblers vie for championships.
To celebrate the successful inscription of the Cheung Chau Jiao Festival onto the Third National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2011, this year's champion, the first runner-up and second runner-up in the men's team event, the champion in the women's team event, and the winning team in the Bun Scrambling Invitation Relay, will be awarded trophies named in honour of the inscription.
This year's competition has attracted 209 applicants, of whom 83 took part in the selection contest held on April 15. The nine male and three female contestants who climbed the bun tower in the shortest time became this year's competition finalists, and they will contend for the prizes.
The bun tower is 14 metres tall with a diameter of 3m. It is covered with bamboo sticks and studded with about 9,000 replica buns. The bun tower is divided into three zones from top to bottom and studded with buns, each carrying a score of nine, three and one respectively. Words in green, yellow and red are printed on the bottom of the buns for identification.
The scores for male and female contenders will be ranked separately. The contestants who obtain the highest total score in three minutes will be the champions.
The twelve finalists include Mr Kwok Ka-ming, Mr Cheung Man-cheung, Mr Yip Kin-man, Mr Leung Chun-kit, Mr Kwok Chun-yin, Mr Tam Kam-chau, Mr Chung Yuk-chuen, Mr Wong Tsz-kiu and Mr Man Tsun-wai in the men’s team; and Miss Cheng Lai-sho, Lisa, Miss Wong Ka-yan and Miss Wong Ho-yan in the women’s team.
The individual contest will be followed by a relay competition. Three teams from the neighbouring regions - Guangzhou Bun Scrambling Team, Shenzhen Mountaineering and Outdoor Sports Association and Clube de Escalada Guia Macau have been invited to take part in the relay. They will compete against five teams from Cheung Chau - The Petrel Athletic Association, Cheung Chau San Hing Street Kai-fong Association Ltd, Hong Kong Tai Lung Wah Residents Association, Cheung Chau Tung Tai Sun Chuen and Wing Kai Far Pau Association Ltd. Two members of each team will take turns to snatch specified buns at the top of the tower. The team that can get the specified buns within the shortest time will be the champion.
All contestants have to follow the rules of the competition. They are not allowed to carry any hard objects or any objects that can be used as offensive weapons. They must scramble up vertically and are forbidden to climb sideways or climb with the aid of others. They are not allowed to pull other participants' clothing or safety gear or step on any parts of other participants' bodies.
The soccer pitch of Pak Tai Temple Playground will be divided into five zones on the night, with one designated for invited guests and the other four for the public. Owing to limited space, the four public zones can only accommodate about 1,650 spectators, not including the invited guests. People wishing to watch the competition at the soccer pitch should queue up at Pak She First Lane, next to Cheung Chau Fire Station, and along Ping Chong Road for admission tickets, which will be distributed from 10pm on April 28. Each person can obtain one ticket on a first-come, first-served basis while tickets last. Spectators who have got their tickets should keep on queuing and wait for instructions from the Police and staff of the organisers. Admission to the venue will start from 10.30pm.
Notices will be put up on April 28 at Pier 5 in Central informing the public of the schedule and arrangements for the event. Notices and enquiry counters will also be set up at Cheung Chau Ferry Pier and at the entrance of the soccer pitch of Pak Tai Temple Playground, where staff will be on hand to address public enquiries.
First Ferry will arrange an additional ferry trip from Cheung Chau to Central at 1.15am on April 29. The bus company will operate a special cross-harbour bus route, 104R, running from Pier 5 in Central to Mong Kok from about 1.10am to 2.30am. Overnight bus services departing from the Hong Kong-Macao Ferry Terminal in Central will be re-routed to operate via Pier 5 in Central from midnight to 2.30am for passengers' convenience. These routes are: N8X (to Siu Sai Wan), N90 (to South Horizons), N182 (to Kwong Yuen, Sha Tin) and N619 (to Shun Lee, Kwun Tong).
Some of the replica buns will be distributed to spectators after the competition and the rest will be re-used next year. Redemption coupons, one for each bun, will be issued to spectators for collection of the buns during office hours between May 7 and 18 at Cheung Chau Sports Centre, Praya Street Sports Centre or the Islands District Leisure Services Office in Central. Special arrangements will be made for redemption of the replica buns from 9am to noon on May 12 (Saturday) at the Islands District Leisure Services Office in Central.
People are urged to follow instructions from the Police and staff of the organisers and to be co-operative and patient in crowded places while going to Cheung Chau to have fun at this traditional festive activity.
Ends/Thursday, April 26, 2012