Fire Rocket Festival comes to Chiang Mai
A unique, fun, and very noisy occasion
A unique and very noisy provincial festival took place on July 13 at Hay Lan
in Mae On district, 40 kilometres from Chiang Mai city. Known as Bun Bang
Fai, translated as the Fire Rocket Festival, the celebrations include the
launching into the skies, (one at a time), of 95 handmade 50 feet long
rockets from temples all around Chiang Mai.
launch pad for the huge rockets.
The launching is a form of contest - points are awarded, and whichever
temple’s rocket stays up, goes the furthest, and remains in one piece, wins
a substantial cash prize. NASA comes to Chiang Mai, indeed! Thousands of
people, including the Mayor of Chiang Mai, Dr. Duentemduang na Chiengmai,
came from all over the province to join in the celebrations, watch the fun
and stay on after the rocket-launching competition ended at 4 pm for the
evening concert, another very loud occasion!
After the festival and rockets were blessed by monks in a short Buddhist
ceremony, the fun began. This year, the first two rockets failed to light;
but after that it was “all systems go,” as the next rocket set an almost
unbeatable record! Inevitably, some rockets exploded without taking off;
when a rocket is that size it obviously pays to stand well back when the
blue touch paper’s lit! The fourth rocket landed a few metres away from the
spectators, causing a commotion, the noise of which was easily drowned by
the beating of drums and chanting which, apparently, helps the rockets to at
least get off the ground, as does dancing.
As with the majority of festivals, there is a legend behind the Bun Bang Fai
festival. In olden times, it was held in honour of the rain god, a deity
known as Vassakan, who apparently loved to be worshipped with fire. Local
people would fire rockets into the heavens, beseeching Vassakan to bless
them with a good rainy season for rice cultivation.
CM Mail’s brave photographer’s close-up pic of
one of the rockets.
Up, up and away!
Horeca hosts pool party
at the Shangri-La
Prize draw winners donate to Croston House
The Shangri-La was the venue for a fabulous pool party and promotion
held on the evening of July 10, to which all the GM’s and other
representatives of the top Chiang Mai hotels were invited by the Horeca
MD, Rudy van der Berg. Horeca is one of the major suppliers of wine and
spirits to major hotels in northern Thailand.
a beer belly in sight!
The event was used to promote two single malt whiskies, (Glengoyne and
Isle of Arran), Belgian draught beers, (including the famous brands
Stella Artois, Leffe, and Hoegaarden) and Monsoon Valley, a wine new to
the area. The Belgian beers are already on sale at the “Number One” bar
on Loy Kroh Road, and proved very popular at the pool party.
With so much alcohol offered and being consumed, the delicious buffet
proved just as popular, and included oysters, a wide selection of
Japanese food and an extraordinary range of beef. Also popular as a
great idea was a prize draw with a difference; instead of keeping the
prizes, the winners were encouraged, (and, of course, delighted) to give
their prizes to Glenn Croston from Croston House Children’s’ Home. This
Thai-registered foundation, located in Makrua sub-district of Lamphun
province, currently provides a home for 28 disadvantaged Thai children
from various provinces. Accommodation, food and clothing are provided
within a family environment and the foundation ensures that the children
receive an education.
could anyone refuse a glass of wine?
To further entertain their guests, Horeca had arranged musical delights
throughout the evening from three top musicians, Jody, Pavel and Drew,
who formed the ‘Band for Tonight,’ playing a selection of folk music
from across the world. At the end of the evening, after mixing so much
grape and grain, guests were encouraged to use a taxi service for their
For further information on Croston house, please email
[email protected] or telephone 086 385 7118. A website,
www.crostonhousechildrenshomethailand.org is currently under
If you would like to make an event that little bit more special, invite
Pictured left to right are Ralph (Horeca),
Daniel (Siam Winery), Kathrin
(winemaker, Siam Winery), Joon (Horeca), Michael (Pinacle Gastro),
Paweena (Brewberry), and Rudy (Horeca).
Superb joint birthday party for David and Tananan at the Empress Hotel
Glamorous “frocks” - great music
A superb joint birthday bash for both David and for
Tananan Willson, Chiang Mai’s very own “haute-couture” designer,
took place July 13 at the Empress Hotel, with guests of honour
including Dr. Chao Duangduan na Chiengmai and everyone’s
favourite hair stylist, Somsak Chalachol. The theme of the party
was fancy dress; Tananan’s special request was that guests
should come in “drag” - as a result many just couldn’t wait to
get their most glamorous frocks on! Regular readers of the
Mail will already know classical pianist David, as well as
Tananan, both famous in the community as much for their hard
work for many local charities over the years as for their design
and musical talent.
It may surprise readers to know that Tananan wasn’t always a
designer - his varied careers include managing his family’s
two-generation old massage business, through managing the
gourmet cookie part of the enterprise, to working for the United
Nations in the fields of drug treatment and health care
programs. He also holds a degree in accounting and business
administration. Glamorous and adaptable, many of his designs
found their inspiration in operas and musicals, and feature
drapery and hand embroidery. Although Tananan has now officially
“retired,” he still designs privately, for competitions, and
provides amazing outfits for charity occasions, such as the
recent Soroptimists Chiang Mai’s fundraiser “Taking Action in
Style - Fashion Show Extraordinaire,” held in May for the
benefit of the Single Mothers Project. He is also the treasurer
of the Committee of Public Relations and Marketing Association
of Northern Thailand, which in itself supports many local
charity organizations in the north.
David Wilson is not only an extremely talented musician, he has
also influenced and is responsible for encouraging other local
talents in their chosen fields. In the news recently has been
one such, tenor Antoine Garth - who in return put on an amazing
show for David and Tananan at the party. The Chiang Mai Mail
would like to take this opportunity to wish both David and
Tananan Many Happy Returns - and many more to come.
Winning artists featured in 2009 Chiang Mai Charity Calendar
Student artworks to raise funds for children’s charities
‘Scenery, Lanna Countryside’ by
Sabrina Magnusson from Prem.
‘Lanna Land’ by Shay Grivald from
‘Buddhist Way in Lanna’ by
Wanisornkul (Nano) Thantanu from Prem.
‘Doi Suthep’ by Kormkana Ramruay
from San Payang Wittayakorn.
‘Buddha’ by Budsaba Preeda-aman from
Elephant Tug of War’ by Prapat
Hongform from Asia Technology School.
‘Lanna Thai Life’ by Jiraporn
Bownkuen from San Payang Wittayakorn,
‘Way of Lanna Thai Life’ by Jam
Comoan from San Payang Wittayakorn.
Lanna Night’ by Rangsimon
Pholcharoenchit from American Pacific.
Hmong Life Style’ by Prapat Hongform
from Asia Technology School.
‘My Lanna Village’ by Subsunsit
Manee from San Payang Wittayakorn.
Heart of Happy Findings’ by Ella
Gabrielle Dendy from N. Payap Int.
Delightful Specialities’ by First
Kunchan from Prem.
Lanna Flowers Dancing’ by Saradit
Puengtham from Asia Technology School.
The 2009 Chiang Mai Charity Calendar, featuring the 14 winning
images selected by judges at American Pacific International
School last week, has now gone to print! Students from six out
of the eight participating schools and establishments won a
coveted place in the colourful and unusual desk calendar
carrying the theme of “Delightful Lanna.” As well as raising
funds for children’s charities in the North, it will find its
way into homes and offices all over the world, effectively
promoting Chiang Mai and Northern Thailand for a whole year. The
calendar will go on sale in mid-August at all branches of
Rimping Supermarkets, as well as at La Luna Gallery, Tita
Gallery, and the TAT Office on Lamphun Road, Chiang Mai. For
more information, please visit [email protected]