The newly-formed Tainan municipality rings in the New Year

Fireworks above the Tainan City Hall complex.

Fireworks above the Tainan City Hall complex.

The Municipality of Tainan, Taiwan rang in the New Year in style Friday night to mark a significant event in the region’s history. Tainan City and Tainan County recently merged as one, and is now known as Tainan Municipality, a sprawling city of 1.87 million people. On December 25th, 2010, the former legislator, Lai Ching-te, took office as the first mayor of the new municipality. One of his first major public appearances was to ring in the New Year, as the Municipal government hosted the 2011 New Year’s Eve Festival.

Mayor Ching-te Lai rings in the New Year and significant changes to Tainan.

Mayor Ching-te Lai rings in the New Year and significant changes to Tainan.

The festival featured a free, public concert on the City Hall grounds that was well-attended. Tainan citizens came to be entertained by well-known performers from Taiwan and other parts of the world. The performance roster, included Olivia Ong from Singapore, and Anthony Neely, a popular Taiwanese-American singer, and Dong Cheng Wei, a Taiwanese rock band.

Taiwanese-American singer Anthony Neely sparkled on stage for his adoring fans.

Taiwanese-American singer Anthony Neely sparkled on stage for his adoring fans.

On the cold, crisp Winter night, the music from a variety of bands energized the thousands of people in the crowd, with pop music, rock music, American songs, and even traditional Taiwanese songs. Mayor Lai gave a rousing welcome speech to his citizens standing on stage with his staff and celebrities, kicking off a new year that, with the merging of governments, is certain to be groundbreaking for the people of Tainan.

Click to read this story on CNN iReport.

Olivia Ong of Singapore charms the audience with songs in English and Chinese..

Olivia Ong of Singapore charms the audience with songs in English and Chinese..

Dong Cheng Wei rocked the house.

Dong Cheng Wei rocked the house.

The crowds packed the concert.

The crowds packed the concert.

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