• Cultural events, glitzy parties mark year’s end

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    Bali will welcome the New Year by organizing various cultural and community events, adding to the joyous atmosphere of year-end festivities.

    The Denpasar administration will celebrate the end of the year by holding an event titled “Bid Farewell to 2011’s Sun”, which will also mark the closing of the annual Denpasar Festival, a four-day event involving thousands of local artists, handicraft makers, cloth designers and culinary masters.

    The last day of the festival will feature various competitions, art and culture parades and performances from 10 a.m. Saturday until the turn of the year from 2011 to 2012.

    All the activities will be held at Puputan Badung Field, said the head of the city’s Cultural Agency, Made Mudra.

    In the afternoon, religious leaders will hold mass prayers at the Catur Muka statue during the “Bid Farewell to 2011’s Sun” procession.

    Following the procession, there will be a cultural parade themed “Baris — The Reflection of Denpasar’s Heroic Spirit”, during which nine kinds of Baris traditional warrior dances will be performed by students and art groups from traditional villages.

    The nine dances are Baris Tombak Ringan, Baris Kupu-kupu, Baris Sikep, Baris Panah, Baris Wayang, Baris Tamiang, Baris Cina, Baris Pendet and Baris Tongklang Penambangan.

    “This is a part of our efforts to revitalize dances that are nearly extinct,” Mudra said, adding that the nine dances have been updated from their initial versions, but still retain their original characteristics.

    The city will also host a parade featuring ogoh-ogoh (giant papier-mâché effigies) and a Balinese marching band, as well as other traditional art performances.

    Bali’s most famous beach, Kuta, will be closed to traffic to accommodate thousands of people expected to celebrate the last night of 2011 there.

    The closure of access to Jl. Legian and Jl. Pantai Kuta will start at 4 p.m. Saturday and will continue until Sunday morning, said Denpasar Police chief Sr. Comr. Suryanbodo.

    “People who want to go to Legian and Kuta should park their vehicles at Kuta Central Park. Tourists can use vehicles provided by their respective hotels.”

    He said the road would be closed to vehicles in order to avoid traffic jams and prevent security disturbances during year-end celebrations.

    “We will turn Kuta and Legian into pedestrian areas to make the area more convenient for people.”

    To prevent security disturbances, the police will deploy a large number of officers, including from the Mobile Brigade. Personnel from community guards and pecalang (traditional security officers) will help the police to safeguard crucial locations.

    To attract more guests, major hotels in Bali are competing to organize the most interesting and festive year-end celebration.

    The InterContinental Bali Resort will hold a countdown party welcoming the dawn of 2012 at the Sunset Bar in front of Jimbaran Bay.

    “Starting at 11 p.m. and continuing until early morning, there will be a display of fireworks to light up the sky over the waters of the bay as we welcome the New Year with dynamic bursts of color,” said the resort’s public relations director Dewi Anggraini.

    On the first day of 2012, the resort will hold more unique events. The highlight event on “recovery day” is “Release a Turtle and Make a Wish”.

    Guests will be invited to adopt a baby turtle and release it into the waters of the bay before sunset.

    “Make a special wish for the coming year ahead and hope that your little turtle has a long life in the sea,” Dewi said.

    The Discovery Kartika Plaza Hotel in Kuta will hold a spectacular year-end celebration, the “Masquerade Eve Party”, starting 8 p.m. Saturday at the Kharisma Ballroom.
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