Local pols hope 3rd time proves charm for Naklua ‘Walking Street’

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Culture Minister Sukamol Kunplome and other top local government officials kicked off the third attempt at turning the Old Naklua Market into a new “Walking Street” tourist attraction.

MP Poramet Ngampichet, Banglamung District Chief Chawalit Saeng-Uthai, and Pattaya Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome welcomed more than 1,000 people to the Dec. 3 launch.

Sukamol said the government has tapped its culture budget as another way to create economic, as well as social, benefits for society. The market, she said, would create jobs and spread the culture of the east around the world.

A market vendor serves up some fresh local food at Naklua’s 3rd new Walking Street project. A market vendor serves up some fresh local food at Naklua’s 3rd new Walking Street project.

Long a pet project of the mayor, the market is aimed at highlighting historical culture and products in the Naklua area. In two previous attempts in 2010 and 2009, however, the project fell short of the goal, offering few products to differentiate the marketplace from the “new” Naklua Market just down the road.

Hoping to breathe new life into the project, planners this year set up three zones, focusing on sales of local merchandise and locally caught seafood, cooking demonstrations and food tasting, and traditional Naklua-area music and dance.

RS music label recording artist Khanom Jeen did his bit to get the party started, performing a free show on opening day.

The third market will run weekends from 4-10 p.m. until Jan. 29.