Last updated: 09:00 PM ET, Mon April 27 2015

A Trio of Pacific Rim Festivals

Destination & Tourism | James Ruggia | April 27, 2015

A Trio of Pacific Rim Festivals

Vivid Sydney will be lighting up the harbor with lights and ideas (Image courtesy of Destination New South Wales)

VIVID Sydney

VIVID Sydney will once again be lighting up the city this May 22 to June 8, and Down Under Answers has created a package for those who want to go. The world's largest light, music, and ideas festival will feature innovative new light installations this year, in more neighborhoods than ever before. There will also be influential speakers from around the world, and the biggest ever VIVID live music program. The six-night Down Under Answers Light Up Sydney with VIVID Package is priced from $1,999 per person (including airfare from LAX to Sydney) includes a dinner cruise on Sydney Harbour, a tour of Blue Mountains National Park, and more.

VIVID Light features more than 60 light installations and projections in Sydney's city center, and is expanding into the city suburbs this year. Vivid Laser-Fountain Water Theatre, for instance, is a choreographed audio visual symphony featuring fountain jets and spirals, color lighting, rainbow lasers, and more. The Vivid Sydney Game Zone features interactive installations in and around the University of Sydney.

VIVID Ideas will introduce The Game Changers, a talk series headlined by three global influencers including writer Matthew Weiner, series creator and executive producer of “Mad Men” and former executive producer and writer on “The Sopranos;” Grammy-winning designer Stefan Sagmeister, whose clients have included the Rolling Stones, Lou Reed, and the Guggenheim Museum; and publisher Tyler Bru^le´, founder of the magazines Wallpaper and Monocle. VIVID Live at the Sydney Opera House will feature a 10-night run of exclusive Sydney-only performances, and will also include two large-scale outdoor events, internal light projections, and an event for kids and families.

Hong Kong Buns and Kiwi Skiing

For those of you who didn’t get enough skiing this past winter, no worries, the New Zealand ski season is on its way. The Queenstown American Express Winter Festival runs from June 19 to 24. The Crowne Plaza Queenstown, voted “New Zealand’s Leading Ski Hotel 2014” at the World Ski Awards, is near The Remarkables and Coronet Peak ski areas. The hotel’s five-night “Ski Stay Play” package features full buffet breakfast with a four-day ski pass, enabling guests to focus on the great skiing and riding Queenstown has to offer.

The 2015 edition of the festival will have live music and entertainment, and skies lit with fireworks in the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest celebration of winter. Also on the itinerary is the “American Express Comedy Debate,” that proved extremely popular last year.

Up in Hong Kong, from May 22 to May 26, the Bun Festival will return to Cheung Chau Island. The festival began in the 18th century when a plague devastated the island. Today the people of Cheung Chau make papier-mâché effigies of deities, wear costumes, bake many buns, and build a large bamboo tower for the “bun snatching” event.

Cheung Chau Island is about six miles southwest of Hong Kong Island and is home to the famous Pak Tai Temple, built in 1783. The island, accessible by ferry in just 30 minutes from Central pier, was a fishing village with a number of small fleets still present today. In 1783 Cheung Chau built a temple to the god Pak Tai, who drove the pirates that used to plague the waters of Hong Kong away, including pirate Po Tsai, who kept his 250 warships there. Today, Cheung Chau’s towns and markets preserve an older maritime Chinese lifestyle. The buns, given out during the festival are meant to feed the ghosts the pirates had murdered. The highlight of the festival is when local men climb very tall towers trying to collect buns along the way.

For more information on Sydney, New Zealand, Hong Kong

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