The Jakarta Post
The Kelapa Gading Mall rocked the block on Thursday evening with an outstanding Gading Nite Carnival, which kicked off the 10th Jakarta Fashion and Food Festival 2013 ( JF3 ).
The event comprised an impressive opening ceremony featuring around 500 dancers, five decorated and illuminated floats, a marching band and angklung ( bamboo percussion ) ensemble and a fireworks extravaganza, which thrilled the thousands of people who swarmed onto Kelapa Gading Boulevard in North Jakarta.
Beneath a clear evening sky, the carnival began just after sunset. Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Mari Elka Pangestu and Jakarta Deputy Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama attended the opening of the three-week festival.
'The event was initially planned to just make the mall merrier, but now it has become a large fiesta in Jakarta. It is a win-win solution for everyone ' more people come to the mall and the mall offers enough space to display products from our creative industry,' said Mari.
The Nite Carnival was held in sequences, with the Jember Fashion Festival opening the show. Taking the theme 'Madurese', dancers energetically performed within oversized yet beautiful costumes.
Honoring the capital city, the host showcased one of its floats, which was decorated with Betawi traditional ondel-ondel ( giant puppets ).
Dancers in food-themed costumes followed, representing the culinary highlights of the event. Some comedic songs, which were performed, focusing on authentic Jakarta dishes such as onde-onde ( sticky rice-flour balls filled with beans ), made the show even more amusing.
Later, students from various fashion schools across Indonesia presented their collections, which had been inspired by many cities in the country.
Continuing with a traditional Indonesian ambiance, 'Indonesian Heritage' was the next sequence, representing central and eastern regions of Indonesia, which is the theme of this year's JF3. A great collaboration of dancing and costumes from Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Papua displayed the country's beauty in diversity.
Dancers dressing as Barbie and Ken also took part in the Nite Carnival to mark the opening of the Barbie Flagship Store at the mall, while 'Indonesian Superheroes' showcased a dramatic and ultramodern performance from local superheroes such as Gatotkaca and Gundala, which drew applause from the audience.
The festival, which continues through the end of this month, offers a shopping experience ' with discounts ' from various brands, as well as a number of fashion shows from notable Indonesian designers, a huge ground of cosmic delights at the Kampoeng Tempoe Doeloe ( Past Times Village ) as well as a paradise of wine, cheese and ice cream at Wine & Cheese Expo.
Eighty vendors are taking part in the food fiesta, offering around 100 kinds of dishes. Visitors are invited to try all the Indonesian culinary delights, from Surakarta's favorite dishes to Pontianak's gravy satay, as well as nostalgic offerings like tahu gejrot ( fried tofu served in spicy sauce ), kerak telor ( egg crust snack ), Acehnese noodles and rujak juhi ( fruit salad ).
At the Fashion Village, visitors are welcomed to indulge in a shopping spree with various products on offer, made by the country's own producers, from fashion designers to fashion students, at affordable prices. To maintain the public's interest, the organizer is hosting late-night shopping events every Saturday.
Prominent designers Musa Widyatmodjo, Anne Avantie and Stephanus Hamy will display their new collections alongside quality products from small vendors and fashion school students.
Besides the enjoyable fashion and food products, the organizer is also providing photographic decoration, especially around the Kampoeng Tempoe Doeloe area, to allow visitors to upload their experiences on social media sites.
Raiza, a regular JF3 visitor from Ciledug, said she had been attending the event for several years.
'It's always fun to come here. I really can't help myself from enjoying a cup of durian with ice,' she told The Jakarta Post, adding that she would also be hunting discounted items from the local fashion designers.
Raiza gave her two thumbs up to the organizer for inviting such a great number of people to the mall to enjoy the Nite Carnival before spending their money in the food and fashion areas. 'They really know how to run a business.'
First-timer Tejo from Sumba, West Nusa Tenggara ( NTB ), could not help giggling when an ice-cream maker from Turkey tricked him while offering a fun performance to other visitors.
'It's OK, it was fun after all,' said Tejo who came to the festival after a group of his friends invited him along.
Despite selling goods, wine vendor Darwin said the event was the perfect opportunity to present various wines to public.
'We've participated at the Wine and Cheese Expo for six years now, and it has been great. We aren't necessarily talking about sales, but more about educating local people about wine.
'Therefore, we have wine tasting as well as master class sessions with wine masters from Italy and France,' said Darwin, adding that his local customers preferred sweet Italian wines and medium-sweet wines from France.
Kelapa Gading Mall is one of the largest shopping malls in the country with more than 130,000 square meters of floor space and over 600 stores. For the full JF3 schedule, visit mallkelapagading.com.