China’s largest flower gala welcomes 20,000 visitors on the opening day in Shanghai
Published: May 21, 2021 10:00 PM
China's largest flower event welcomed a large number of visitors on its opening day Friday on Shanghai's Chongming island, despite a number of sporadic COVID-19 cases across the country. The expo is expected to welcome around 3 million visitors.Photo:Yang Hui/GT

Visitors walk along the flower ocean at the 10th China Flower Expo, which kicked off on Friday. Photo:Yang Hui/GT

China's largest flower festival - 10th China Flower Expo - kicked off on Friday on Shanghai's Chongming island. Over 20,000 people visited the expo on its opening day despite sporadic COVID-19 cases being found across the nation.

Themed "Blossom with a Chinese Dream," a way to celebrate the 100th birthday of the Communist Party of China, the expo spans 589 hectares and has invited flower companies from both home and abroad to display various kinds of flowers including over 1,000 new types. The event will run until July 2.

Around 1 pm, a large number of visitors queued up to enter the venue. After security check, face recognition and whether one followed all COVID-19 rules, visitors who had made reservations could enter the gate in seconds. 

Most visitors have no concern over the epidemic despite the sporadic COVID-19 cases. ''I'm not worried about the epidemic,'' a Shanghai local resident surnamed Sun told the Global Times on Friday, noting that when he booked for a reservation, he had to upload information such as the "healthy green code." Sun is already vaccinated against COVID-19.

Zhang Wenhong, China's leading infectious disease expert has said that Shanghai is well-prepared to hold the flower gala. Zhang also reminded participants at the expo to take the COVID-19 vaccine. So far, China has administered 449.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines as of Thursday.

The expo organizers have done a great job to curb the virus. Over 99 percent of the personnel involved at the flower expo have been inoculated, according to the expo organizers.

Zou Yingmin, a resident from Macao special administrative region, spent her first time on the mainland visiting the flower expo. "I like the bigleaf hydrangeas very much and I was impressed by the flower gala," the excited Zou told the Global Times on Friday.

A castle model designed by the Shanghai Disneyland Resort and decorated with various flowers was on display at the expo. It attracted both adults and kids. Kids were posturing in front of Disney iconic cartoon images like Donald Duck, which is made of plants.

This is the first time that the flower expo has been held on an island. Over 180 exhibition areas will show gardens designed by both local companies and some from Italy, Canada, the Netherlands, the UK, Israel, South Africa and South Korea.

A local resident surnamed Tao told the Global Times on Friday that the expo also "improved local residents' living environment" as some roads have been expanded. 

As the largest flower gala, the expo also aims at creating more opportunities for flower traders. By the end of 2020, the country's flower planting area reached 1.5 million hectares with annual sales of 250 billion yuan ($39 billion), making China the world's biggest flower production base, said Liu Dongsheng, deputy director of the State Forestry and Grassland Administration, during an earlier press conference.