No one would blame you if you’ve forgotten about the Geylang Serai bazaar, given that the physical event was cancelled in 2020 and 2021, and only reopened last year in a much smaller scale.
Come 17 March 2023, it’ll return in full force, and it’ll be the longest one ever
Here’s what you need to know.
Geylang Serai Bazaar Back from 17 March 2023 & Will Have 10 Times More Stalls
The bazaar was announced by Minister of State for Home Affairs and National Development Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim in a press conference this afternoon (26 January 2023).
He also posted about the event on his social media platforms:
This year, the bazaar’s first day will start earlier. Usually, it’ll start on the start of the Muslim fasting month, but this year, the bazaar will start five days earlier, from 17 March 2023.
This means the entire bazaar will last for 36 days instead of the usual 31 days.
This will coincide with the Hari Raya light-up in Geylang Serai.
The bazaar will open daily from 10am to 11:59pm, but the closing time will be extended to 6am on the last day.
Interestingly, one of the key considerations would be affordability—a word that we probably didn’t associate with the bazaar since it used to be the place for influencers to flex their spending power before COVID-19 hit.
To achieve that, every food and beverage (F&B) outlet must offer one item on the menu at a sampler size for $4.
I don’t know how $4 is considered affordable, but then again, people didn’t think that Charles & Keith is a luxury brand, so let’s not delve into that.
Last year, when Singapore just started to open up, there were only 70 stalls, and despite the removal of SafeEntry (what’s that again?), there were no crazy crowds, unlike the pre-COVID-19 periods whereby you’d have to queue for at least 30 minutes in any stall.
This year, the bazaar will host a whopping 700 stalls.
Like what Associate Professor Faishal mentioned in his social media platforms, the bazaar will follow two themes: Souq City and Street Bazaar.
Souq City will comprise the usual F&B and retail stalls, and community shelves for people to donate perishable halal food and clothing for Hari Raya. There will also be a dining area, but good luck in finding a seat.
The other theme, Street Bazaar, will stretch from Geylang Serai Market to the area beside Tanjong Katong Complex, and it’s a showcase of interactive art installations.
Now, let’s address the elephant in the room: would rental kill the vendors?
The Geylang SeraI Bazaar Saga
When it comes to the Geylang SeraI bazaar, two issues hogged the headlines: too many hipster food and high rental.
In 2018, people were complaining that the bazaar was filled with too many vendors selling hipster food instead of halal food. Since then, the organisers had only allowed only 20% of the stalls to sell hipster food in 2019. As you probably know, 2020 bazaar was cancelled, so it’s unknown if we’d be facing this problem again.
Another issue brought up by vendors were the high rental: before 2019, rental could go up to $20,000 for the entire duration. That was supposed to be solved in 2019 with a rental cap of $14,000, but last year, a stall owner claimed in a TikTok video that she spent $50,000 to cover the costs of running the stall for 15 days.
That TikTok video has since been removed, although it’s unknown how much is her rental was since the total costs she alleged were the full costs, which included manpower and other costs.
This year, it’s reported that rental of non-food stalls can go up to $15,000, while F&B stalls are expected to pay a rental of $19,000.
Do remember that it’s 36 days instead of 31 days.
In addition, there’s a space set aside for local entrepreneurs to rent a space for $55 a day.
Follow us on Telegram here so you’d know if we’d be writing about the food, the crowds or maybe, once again, about the rental.
Featured Image: Tobias Krohn / Shutterstock.com