A Walk on the Rugby SideAttractions
Each year, on what is normally a humid April weekend, tens of thousands of rugby fans and partygoers partake in a uniquely Hong Kong ritual. Decked out in eye-popping costumes, these revellers saunter up the slope from Causeway Bay MTR station to Hong Kong Stadium on the way to their holy grail — the gigantic party known as the CX/HSBC Hong Kong Rugby Sevens.
Many of the fans, however, want to be entertained or have a quick drink while en route. To satisfy their needs, this year the Hong Kong Rugby Union and Hysan Development got together to set up the Rugby Sevens Fan Walk in the heart of the Lee Gardens area on 7–9 April.
For a first edition of the event, the Fan Walk ran remarkably smoothly. “We put in singers, street artists, performers, you name it,” said Kitty Lo, Hysan’s General Manager of Marketing. “Those going to the Stadium or who happened to be in Lee Gardens thoroughly enjoyed the performances up and down Yun Ping Road. Many loved the silent Statute of Liberty, whilst others got a kick out of the African drummers. It was just a brilliant party atmosphere.”
Tucked in half way down the main route was the core of the Fan Walk activities. A massive screen showed the blood, sweat and tears from the games within the Stadium. Rugby celebrities, including the legendary Waisale Serevi, were on hand to chat with fans. Others enjoyed the banter with fellow supporters over a pint or two. At the other end of Lee Garden One were game booths for kids, delicious food stalls, as well as stages for performances. And who could forget the trio of Trump, Obama and Kim Jong-un impersonators who attracted hundreds of selfie-hunters?
Activities for the Fan Walk actually began before the 7–9 April weekend. “Thanks to the efforts of Cathay Pacific and HSBC, two games booths were placed in and around Hysan Place, which generated much goodwill for the rugby theme both before and during the Sevens weekend. You just felt rugby everywhere.” Decorations throughout the area, such as a gigantic inflated rugby ball outside Hysan Place, also attracted everyone’s attention. The Cheering Poles and the Cheering Kiosks were especially popular. “For the latter you had to cheer your lungs out to get prizes, which the kids absolutely loved,” said Kitty.
“We also had a very interesting food and beverage programme in which dozens of restaurants provided discounts for match-goers within the Lee Gardens area, and some of the eateries also provided tasting menus and themed treats. Finally, there were a good number of stores with shopping offers available, and the whole thing was topped off with the fabulous giveaway of 100 air tickets to London. In all, around 80 dining and shopping outlets marked the sporting occasion with offers. Some of my friends are still talking about them now!”
So what can Kitty do to top this event next year?
“It was literally the first time we did this, and there are quite a few areas where we could do better. We would like to see even more street performances and a more open venue where casual visitors can better experience the event.”
Until next April then, enjoy the host of many other fun activities that will take place throughout the year in Lee Gardens!