Annual persimmon festival kicks off with a fair of games, music and performances
If you're a fan of persimmons, you'll find some of the juiciest at Hangzhou's Xixi Wetland Park. There are around 7,000 persimmon trees spread across the park, with an annual production of 75,000 kilograms.
Now, the fruits are ripe for the picking, with the annual Xixi Wetland Fiery Persimmon Festival a seasonal highlight in Hangzhou. This year's festival will last until October 16.
But while the picking of Xixi persimmons has become somewhat of a calling card for the city, in a bid to promote healthy wildlife, the local departments require visitors to leave half of the persimmons on the trees for animals.
The persimmon trees began being planted centuries ago. The sweet-tasting fruit helped replenish energy when food was scarce and livened up bland diets.
Xixi is crisscrossed by watercourses with striking views and natural beauty.
Home to flying, paddling and diving birds, aquatic plants and reed marshes, it has become a popular tourist attraction.
This year, the festival has organized a garden fair with the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279) as its theme. During the festival, visitors will be able to partake in authentic entertainment activities that were popular among locals many centuries ago, including cuju (蹴鞠), touhu (投壶) and chuiwan (捶丸).
Cuju, an ancient Chinese game, is regarded by some experts as the earliest form of football. Touhu is a type of ancient arrow-throwing game, while chuiwan is a sport similar to modern golf.
Organizers have set up a stage at the Hong Pavilion, a part of the Xixi Wetland. During the festival, classic excepts from noted Yueju Opera plays will be performed.
Over the years, the event has developed into a platform for traditional performances such as Yueju Opera, Kunqu Opera and stringed-and-woodwind music.
When night falls, the multimedia performance "Tonight in Xixi" will be staged. Holographic images integrate the stage into the surrounding area, making the show a theatrical spectacle.
80 yuan (US$11.16) per person