Dream Parade 夢想嘉年華: Celebrate the Kooky
One of the strangest events actually hosted by the Taipei government is the Dream Parade 夢想嘉年華. It’s a mix of Brazilian Carnival, Mardi Gras, religious processions, modern art, and traditional culture all mashed together. It celebrates the surreal, the quirky, the colorful, and the half-dressed. Everyone from eight to eighty (literally) join in the festivities to make it one of Taipei’s weirdest and enjoyable events. Check out more info after the jump.
Held in fall, the Dream Parade has been going on for several years now. I visited the 2012 parade and was overwhelmed by its scope and oddities. If you get there before the event, you can see hundreds of people painting themselves, practicing dancing routines, and putting the finishing touches on their elaborate floats. What’s a parade without floats? The Dream Parade has many of them, including several from overseas. Every year, the parade invites artists from other countries to partake and show of their parade prowess. You know you have reached the pinnacle of parading when other nations are inviting you to come over.
The main draw of the parade is the bizarreness of it all. The floats are eerie and peculiar, as are the people. You’ll find elderly women dancing in bikinis, and others in full body paint. You never know what you’ll see next in the march. You might see an odd float, followed by an elementary drum line, then a bunch of people dressed up like ancient Greeks playing a giant harp. No, I did not make that last thing up (sadly I don’t have a good picture of it). After the parade, which lasts several hours, there is a main stage show near Ketagalan Blvd where you can see many performances. The year I went had dances and music from Nantou area students. You could sense their energy and passion watching them give it their all. The stage show is definitely worth attending, and it’s free!
As a connoisseur of the wacky, I really loved it. I’m glad that Taipei is home to so many grandiose yet unorthodox events. It’s very endearing to see people of all age groups take part in something that is very liberating and just fun. Everyone puts so much work into their performance, and while they’re all very different, they share a common theme of following your passion. The 2014 parade is on October 18th and will feature floats from America and Europe, as well as samba dancers from around the world. I missed the parade in 2013, but I will certainly check it out again this year. Check out some photos from the 2012 parade.
2014 Dream Parade: October 18th, 3-9 PM (the parade will be the first few hours, followed by a break then the stage show). The parade starts at Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall 國立中正紀念堂自由廣場 and goes down Ketagalan Blvd 凱達格蘭大道.