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Beitou festival shows you how to have a cool summer

By Yali Chen
Struggling with the summer heat? The Beitou Cooling Summer Festival is an ideal weekend getaway to beat the summer heat.
After two years of restoration work, the Beitou Hot Spring Museum reopened on July 11. Chen Yu-hsin, Deputy Commissioner of Taipei City’s Department of Cultural Affairs (DOCA), the Museum Director Chung Chao-chia, and Taipei City Councilors Wu Szu-yao and Pan Huai-tsung attended the reopening ceremony.

Chen Yu-hsin (sixth from right in the second row)
Photo by LRM
Chen Yu-hsin (sixth from right in the second row), Deputy Commissioner of Taipei City’s Department of Cultural Affairs, and the Beitou Hot Spring Museum Director Chung Chao-chia (sixth from left in the second row) announce the kickoff of the Beitou Cooling Summer Festival on July 11.

The museum is holding the Beitou Cooling Summer Festival, which will run through August 25. The festival features a special exhibition of Beitou traditions and culture, night markets, music performances, and performing arts events.
“About 117 years ago, Taiwan’s first cooling summer event took place in Beitou,” Chen said. “At that time, Beitou was filled with brightly lit restaurants and stores at night.”

Beitou Hot Spring Museum
Photo by LRM
In the early years of the twentieth century, countless Beitou residents soaked themselves in this large hot spring pool now part of the Beitou Hot Spring Museum.

The Beitou hot spring culture, a symbol of the entertainment culture in Taiwan, was an offshoot of Japanese rule from 1895 to 1945. Tourists usually went to bathe in hot springs in winter. This brought in income to the restaurants and stores in Beitou during winter. But business would slow down in summer.
The Japanese government held the cooling summer festival to solve this problem. The festival also offered residents and tourists diverse evening entertainment.
In early August 1913, when the Beitou event kicked off, all the 2,000 tickets were sold out in less than 4 hours, Chen said. There were also scalped tickets on the market.
At that time, about 5,000 people participated in the event at the Hokuto Public Bathhouse (Beitou Public Bathhouse, now known as the Beitou Hot Spring Museum) and Beitou Park.
“After a long interruption, we held the first Beitou Cooling Summer Festival in 2017,” said Museum Director Chung Chao-chia. “After two years of renovation work, we have reopened this festival that will run until August 25.”

An exhibition label in the Beitou Hot Spring Museum.
Photo by LRM
An exhibition label in the Beitou Hot Spring Museum.
The special exhibition showcases the festival history of more than 100 years. Installation artworks were set up in a large hot spring pool in the museum and on the grass outside the museum.