The Ploenchit Fair, the British Community’s annual fund-raising blockbuster event for Thai charities takes place at the end of this month and promises once again to be a great day out for one and all.
Arguably the largest of its kind in Asia, the Ploenchit Fair is a traditional day out for the whole family and has been one of the biggest events on the social calendar in Bangkok since it was first held in the grounds of the British Embassy in 1956. Everybody goes to the Ploenchit Fair – there is something for all – and with thousands of prizes to be won visitors can go home rich in the knowledge that every Baht spent goes towards helping those less fortunate.
The fair is planned, organized and managed by the British Community in Thailand Foundation for the Needy (BCTFN along with an army of over 2000 volunteers. Many organizations assist the BCTFN hugely including private and public companies, businesses and the British Embassy. The money raised during the fair is disbursed by BCTFN to a wide range of projects. Since the year 2000 alone, the Fair has raised over 70 million Baht which has benefited a diverse range of organizations. In recent years, priority has been given to self-help projects that benefit and enable a community to become self-sustaining. Assistance has also been given in the provision of basic necessities and equipment to improve healthcare, nutrition, education, agricultural projects and the disabled throughout Thailand. Donations are never made in cash. Once a project is approved, building plans, estimates and invoices etc. will be met by the BCTFN and payment made directly to contractors and suppliers.
Children love the Ploenchit Fair and once again the organisers have laid on a host of child-friendly rides and activities; paddle boats, a giant wave slide, a shooting gallery, water roller ball, a train ride and Bungy jumping compliment numerous games stalls, a coloring competition, entertainment by Eckie the Clown and an early appearance by Father Christmas.
For Dads there is the usual old favorites – a coconut shy, darts and golf to name but a few – not to mention whisky galore to be won on the Bangkok Banger’s Bottle stall. The Pirate’s Treasure Island will be full of great prizes and Castrol BP Speed 2 has games for all the family. The British Chamber will be manning their stall, the Grand Raffle, which this year features 80 top prizes including air tickets to London.
The Petticoat Lane bazaar has many temptations for Mum. Some 50 shopping outlets along with the usual Charity stalls selling their wares, offer a vast array of different products. This is a great option for some Christmas gift shopping and to pick up handicrafts and ‘bits of nonsense’. Tesco will be returning this year with their ‘Finest’ range and Boots, the UK’s favorite High Street store, will be offering their range of tempting toiletries and cosmetics. When exhaustion overtakes after the shopping, Mums can leave purchases with Left Luggage and maybe have a foot massage before heading to the stage area for the live music program which starts at lunchtime.
Speaking of lunch, food plays an important part at the Fair and this year the temptations include a Fish & Chips stall and cuisine by Masala Art, Sunrise Tacos, Tenderloins and Bistro 33. All sorts of pasta, hot dogs, hamburgers, pizzas and steak sandwiches grilled to taste are available. Kids in particular will head for Krispy Kreme’s ice cream offerings. Of course, food is needed to soak up all the booze consumed at the Ploenchit Fair. This year’s ‘refreshments’ include premium beers and wines from Tenderloins, ice cold larger from Paulaner, Thailand’s own Chang Beer on draught and cocktail specials from The Londoner Brew Pub.
Whilst the Fair may have started as a way for members of the British community to express their appreciation of their Thai hosts and share a traditional bit of British fun, today they are enthusiastically joined by a host of nationalities resident in Thailand.
The Ploenchit Fair takes place on Saturday, November 29 from 10am-9pm at Bangkok Patana School, 643 Soi La Salle, Sukhumvit 105. Entry costs B150 for adults and B50 for children. There will be a free shuttle bus service from Bang Na skytrain station to and from the Fair. Ample parking is also available. Visit bctfn.org and ploenchifair.com for more information.