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Chiangmai's Red Cross and Winter Fair

Dec. 26, 1997 - Jan. 11, 1998

Each year from late December to mid-January, Chiangmai holds its annual Provincial Fair behind the Provincial Hall and close to the 700 Hundred Year Sports Stadium built for the SEA GAMES in 1996. This fair gives farmers, craftsmen and industrialists from all over the province the opportunity to show and sell their products. It is organized annually by the Chiangmai Provincial Administrative Authorities and a number of corporate sponsors: Boon Rawd Brewery Co. Ltd., The Park Hotel, Panna Dressing Design, and ITV.

These fairs called the Red Cross and Winter Fair are common throughout Thailand, and Chiangmai, the nation's second city, rightly hosts a large and splendid one. As in days gone by, there will be stalls selling the best known foods and crafts from the province, entertainment galore, and games and activities for children and grown-ups alike.

These fairs originated as temple fairs in the days before formal organization, when the temple was the hub of the community, much like the British church fete. In rural parts of Thailand these fairs are still centered in a temple. As Chiangmai has grown to be a large cosmopolitan city, many foreign consulates are invited to display their nations' wares.

In 1998 the fair is being held from December 26 to January 11. There will be a beauty contest to select Chiangmai's representative for the Miss Thailand national competition who will go on to vie for Miss World and Miss Universe fame. There will be outdoor cinemas, motor shows, contests of all sorts, traditional shows from all over the country, hilltribe presentations and, of course, a fun fair.

Farmers and livestock raisers will show off their produce, and many companies will display their new lines that will help increase next year's agricultural bounty. A flea market will sell any and every kind of knickknack one could want, and the armed forces will display their military skills.

Visitors will be charmed by the Fair, as it is a step back in time from today's frantic pace to a calmer, gentler rural part of life, where the farmer, the farming community and the village set the tempo of existence. Even today the Red Cross and Winter Fair is very much a demonstration by country folk of country life.

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