By Lee I-chia / Staff reporter
A parade on Zhongxiao E Road in Taipei City yesterday afternoon saw 30,000 people from a variety of performing groups come together to celebrate next week’s start of the Taipei Summer Universiade surrounded by weekend crowds.
The 2017 Summer Universiade Carnival was intended as a welcoming event for athletes and visitors from around the world who are joining the games and was hosted by the Taipei City Government, which had spent six months planning the event and invited nearly 400 groups, which used about 1,100 vehicles in all shapes and sizes.
Beginning at the Taiwan Air Force Innovation Base, the parade took to the streets at about 3pm, led by about 400 vehicles, followed the Taipei First Girls’ High School marching band and honor guard, and a flag team holding the Universiade and International University Sports Federation （FISU） flags.
The innovation base was started in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab in the US. It serves as an incubator for new businesses and hosts various exhibitions.
Next in the parade were 12 marching groups and their decorated vehicles provided by the city’s 12 administrative districts, each displaying a unique theme.
One team was dressed in traditional folk costumes from different ethnic groups.
The parade marched along Zhongxiao E Road, which is crowded with shoppers on weekends, and stopped at a number of plazas, where groups temporarily stopped to perform dances.
Despite the hot weather, the parade created a cheerful and festive atmosphere, and was attended by people of all ages.
The parade ended on the plaza in front of the Taipei City Government, where Mayor Ko Wen-je （柯文哲） greeted the first groups from about 5pm.
“This carnival shows the power of people’s participation,” Ko said, adding that the Universiade represented Taipei and Taiwan and would welcome athletes and spectators from all over the world.
After thanking everyone who joined the parade in support of the Universiade, Ko said: “This time our Taiwanese athletes can compete at home, and everyone can use the slogan ‘Taipei is our home ground, and we welcome the world,’ because it was accomplished with everyone’s help.”
FISU president Oleg Matytsin said that in just seven days, everyone’s efforts of the past six years would be displayed to the world, adding that he hoped everyone could cheer for their own teams as well as for athletes from other countries.