Buffalo City Metro’s festive season fun has officially started as the city hosted its switching on of the lights events over the weekend.
The events took place at the King William’s Town Botanic Gardens on Friday and the East London Esplanade on Sunday.
With a budget of R5.5-million, the metro will be hosting its annual carnival in Mdantsane, King William’s Town and East London.
BCM spokesman Samkelo Ngwenya said they were looking forward to a bumper season that would keep locals spending their time and money in the city and ensure that visitors raced back to be part of the fun.
“We pride ourselves on having incident-free events and this year will be no exception and thus far, that impressive safety record has been kept,” he said.
Ngwenya said this past weekend’s events had opened the door for the annual carnival, which attracts people from all over the city.
“We have taken a decision to be biased towards local artists and invest in encouraging them to dominate and drive our programmes and this is evident by us having 200 local artists who will be performing during our shows, excluding the many other promoters’ events,” he said.
To stay true to their plan of supporting local artists, Ngwenya said local artists had performed during the switching on of the lights event.
“Our teams are working around the clock to fix areas around the beachfront and we will be deploying lifeguards and security guards to ensure we have zero drownings,” he said.
Ngwenya said from a tourism point of view, the events the metro would host attracted both domestic and international tourists, and the cash injection for accommodation establishments, small businesses, informal traders and shops made a huge difference in the lives of locals.
“Our events do not only boost the economy – they also create jobs and a lot of people are employed. Carnivals in their nature are about local traders having a captured, free-spending audience who will buy, and this for us defines the vision we are pursuing of creating a conducive environment for free and affordable trade.
“We are happy with the massive turnout at all our events so far.
“Events like the carnivals give locals who might not be able to afford a cover charge an opportunity to see top-class artists without spending money on travel.”
The King William’s Town carnival takes place on Friday and Saturday, Mdantsane on December 19 and 20 and East London on December 21. — firstname.lastname@example.org