With official celebrations canceled this year, the private sector stepped up to make Children’s Day in Pattaya just as big a deal as it is every year.
The tanks and fire engines didn’t park outside city hall due to the royal mourning period, but shopping malls, tourist attractions and hotels picked up the slack, offering little ones sweets, toys and games.
Banglamung District Chief Naris Niramaiwong made his Jan. 14 appearance at the Sanctuary of Truth, where more than 500 children enjoyed a mix of sports, arts and dharma.
There were religious ceremonies in five religions and contests for handmade crafts, wood carving, kite making and more.
In downtown Pattaya, meanwhile, children from the World Childhood Organization, Child Protection and Development Center and other foundations paraded in the Walk Rally to
Follow in the Steps of the King.
Partakers, mostly kids dressed up in colors and traditional outfits, marched down Beach Road to Walking Street holding portraits of HM the late King and HM King Rama X.
Pattaya School 1-11 also held their own celebrations with live shows, dancing, handicrafts exhibitions and more. Food and beverages were provided and activities went on until late afternoon.
At Pattaya Hospital, Dr. Waranyu Sattayawongthip hosted fun activities and offered free health checkups to kids. The youths also visited patients in return. The day’s theme was “favorite superheroes” and doctors and nurses dressed up as Superman, Batman and other popular action figures.
The newly opened Central Marina mall created a big fuss as well. The grounds of the North Pattaya shopping center were crowded as kids enjoyed activities including the Little Fisherman, the Shark Party, Zone Workshop and Bubbles, and many more. Children’s Day was such a hit, the mall extended its activities into Sunday.
At Royal Garden Plaza, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! took the lead with stage shows and more. The highlight of the event was the Young Farmer competitions for boys and girls.
Children accustomed to tanks and guns did find some in military dominated Sattahip.
At U-Tapao-Rayong-Pattaya Airport, the Royal Thai Navy brought out its F-16 fighter jets and paramotors, plus put on fancy drill shows and more. Of course there were the big guns, with kids getting their hands on the 155-, 130- and 105-milimeter cannons.
About 10,000 kids poured onto Thailand’s HTMS Chakri Naruebet aircraft carrier at Sattahip Naval Base.
The HTMS Phuttayodfah Julalok and HTMS Phuttalertlanapalai also were open for tours.
Vice Adm. Sucheep Whoungmaitree, commander of the Royal Thai Fleet, also organized fancy drill shows, helicopter aerobatics, and displays of amphibious vehicles, artillery, and antiaircraft cannons.
A more bucolic alternative in Sattahip was available at Nong Nooch Tropical Garden which built a Jurassic Park display for Children’s Day.
Park Director Kampol Tansajja surprised kids by mixing dinosaurs in among fresh flowers.
The park was free to tykes under 140 centimeters, a promotion that continued through Jan. 20.
There were stage shows, prizes and incentives to be good students.