(STAR) This year’s definition of “festivity” is Hong Kong WinterFest 2008, brewed up by the Hong Kong Tourism Board and sweetened by the best holiday pleasures spread across parties, performances and tours that run from Nov. 28, 2008 until Jan. 4, 2009.

Wine, dine and savor the staples of this 38-day, spiked-up series of events that is sure to raise extra holiday cheer. Imagine crackling pyrotechnics, street shows and lights flashing in rhythm to The Nutcracker — all these and more exciting activities await you, so gather your loved ones and experience the biggest and best holiday celebration ever.

Christmas fever

Watch how a traditional holiday symbol — the giant Christmas tree — springs to life on November 28 at Central to officially declare that the holiday season is here for everyone to enjoy. Bring your friends and family to get a full dose of merriment in a venue where the hippest, happiest crowds gather.

Great shopping

Time for your much-deserved retail therapy, which can best be experienced in the long stretch of stores and bazaars found at the heart of this city. You are sure to get your money’s worth of wonderful products and familiar brands, with discounts and sales available throughout the winter season at Hong Kong tax-free prices. Think of that new stiletto purchase that’s long overdue; the perfect pair might be waiting somewhere in the Night Market.

New Year countdown

Join the crowd in hollering “three, two, one” on the eve of the Jan. 1 — it’s the 2009 New Year’s Eve Countdown Carnival with friends and loved ones celebrating the exciting and challenging year ahead. The burly Ox awaits, and whether the zodiac says it’s going to be one lucky year — or otherwise — there’s absolutely nothing that will keep people from celebrating the New Year with hope and optimism.

Wine and dine

A gastronomic adventure awaits you in a city that is both a bedrock of Asian flavors and a melting pot of international cuisines. It’s no surprise that the city houses the best restos, so whether you’re up for high-end dining or simply looking for surprises in some hole-in-the-wall café, you’re sure not to be disappointed.

Tourist treats

In love with panoramas? Enjoy romantic night tours and harbor cruises that reveal fantastic vistas and say hello to a marvelous cityscape — Hong Kong at night definitely lives up to its reputation.

In short, Hong Kong WinterFest 2008 offers a wide selection of promotions to ensure that you eat, drink and party to your heart’s content. Hotel and tour packages are available for those on a budget.

This year, make the best of the holiday season. Asia’s events capital promises a magnificent feast of sights, sounds and flavors in one super celebration, minus the winter chill.

The series of events and festivals is as follows:

•Hong Kong Disneyland’s Sparkling Christmas, Nov. 28, 2008 to Jan. 2, 2009

•Ocean Park Christmas Sensation, Dec. 13, 2008 — Jan. 4, 2009)

•The 43rd Hong Kong Brands and Products Expo, Dec. 13, 2008 — Jan. 4, 2009

•Hong Kong International Horse Races 2008,Dec. 14

•New Year’s Eve Countdown Carnival 2008,Dec. 31

For available hotel packages, booking services and more information, visit www.discoverhongkong.com/hkwf.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved