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City prepares for National Day fete

2009. 1 October

( Even though most of the fireworks, singing and dancing won't take place until today, there was still plenty of activity in Shanghai yesterday on the eve of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.

Many residents got a head start on the holiday by taking off work early, stores were bracing for crowds of shoppers and early traffic restrictions were put in place.

The result was gridlock conditions on many downtown streets yesterday afternoon as the pre-holiday traffic coincided with congestion brought on by construction associated with the 2010 World Expo.

Local residents are hoping yesterday's annoyances fade in memory as they and the rest of the country enjoy an eight-day break to celebrate National Day and the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Though the main events - a massive parade and gala - will take place in Beijing, there are still many ways to celebrate in Shanghai.

Today's festivities will start with international entertainment in local parks and a three-unit police helicopter squad flying a 7-square-meter national flag past the Oriental Pearl TV Tower. The show will begin at 8:30am and last until 8pm, and the choppers will fly along the Huangpu River from the Xupu Bridge to the Yangpu Bridge and back again starting at 10am.

After dark, fireworks will light the skies in Zhabei, Xuhui, Yangpu, Minhang, Baoshan, Songjiang and Qingpu districts.

Other celebrations include the International Musical Fireworks Festival at Century Park on Saturday and Tuesday and Mid-Autumn Festival temple fairs at some parks.

Traffic and crowd controls will be imposed, and police have urged sightseers to avoid the Bund area because of Expo-related construction. Some cross-river bridges and tunnels, downtown elevated roads and Metro stations will also operate under restricted traffic conditions during holiday afternoons and evenings.

More than 5.6 million people are expected to visit Shanghai during the holiday, a rise of about 10 percent from the same period of last year, according to the Shanghai Tourism Administration.

Banks will keep many of their outlets open in busy areas during the holidays. Business hours will vary.

Hospital out-patient service will not be available from today until next Thursday. Emergency rooms will remain open.