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Calla Lilly Festival launches today

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan's annual Calla Lily Festival kicks off today with nearly 2 million calla lilies blossoming in Yangmingshan National Park, Taipei officials said yesterday.

The theme for the 2013 Cally Lily Festival's is “Corner With Love,” the city's Department of Economic Development (產業發展局) Commissioner Huang Chi-jui (黃啟瑞) said. He added that there are 29 calla lily farms in Zhuzihu (竹子湖), an area nestled in Yanmingshan National Park north of Taipei.

As part of the festival, tourists can enjoy tremendous views of the calla lily farms as well as pick flowers from the farms.

Huang said that as part of the festival's theme, 13 of the farms use blossoming white calla lilies to decorate the farms according to scenes from movies like “Beauty and the Beast,” “Titanic” and “The Butterfly Lovers” (梁山伯與祝英台).

The festival will run from today until the end of April, Huang said, adding that there will be guided tours of Zhuzihu on weekends and holidays.

Huang said that tourists who want to join guided tours should arrive at the entrance of Zhuzihu before 10:30 a.m. or 2 p.m.

The officials said tourists can also take part in the Beitou Farmers' Association's one-day tour package, which visits Yangmingshan and Zhuzihu. This one-day tour, officials added, includes a guided tour, restaurant dining and flower picking.

According to the Taipei City Government, 80 percent of the festival's flowers have blossomed.

Florist Kao Yu-hsuan (高于玄) suggested tourists come to Zhuzihu when the weather is cool, adding that after picking calla lilies, tourists should place the flowers in a vase filled with cool water. This will help the flowers last around seven to 10 days.

Huang advised tourists to take public transportation during the festival period to avoid traffic jams.

In 2012 over 700,000 people attended the Calla Lily Festival, officials noted, adding that the number of tourists from Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore has increased.

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A lily farm in Zhuzihu (竹子湖), an area nestled in Yangmingshan National Park, north of Taipei, blossoms with the white calla lilies. As part of the festival, tourists can enjoy tremendous views of the calla lily farms as well as pick flowers to take home with them.

(Courtesy of Department of Economic and Development)

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