Jakarta. The crowd builds up at the Gelora Bung Karno Sports Complex in Jakarta as the hours pass, but not everyone is there to watch the sports events taking place inside the 2018 Asian Games venue.
While athletes compete in different sports disciplines at the international multisport event and supporters cheer them on, the Asian Fest adds to the Asian Games buzz with several side events, from food trucks to musical performances.
With festival tickets costing Rp 10,000 (67 US cents) per person, members of the public can gain entrance to the sports complex during this year's Asian Games, where they stand a chance to meet athletes, buy souvenirs and catch an outdoor showing of selected matches.
In addition, several booths also feature Indonesian arts and culture.
"We came a little too early, so some of the booths were still closed. But it is a really good side event," Mimi, an Indonesian visitor, told the Jakarta Globe recently.
As it gets closer to the evening, festivalgoers are treated to cultural performances, such as a gendang beleq dance from Lombok and a nuri dance from Sumbawa, both in West Nusa Tenggara.
The festival takes place simultaneously in three designated zones inside the sports complex, each named after 2018 Asian Games mascots: Bhin Bhin, Atung and Kaka.
Several prominent musicians have performed at the festival, including South Korean singers Se7en and Eun Ga Eun, and Indonesia's Vina Panduwinata, Sore and Rendy Pandugo, since the Asian Games started on Aug. 18.
Indonesian boyband Yovie & Nuno is scheduled to headline at the Atung and Kaka zones on Saturday (01/09).
These zones offer visitors a spot to relax and shelter from Jakarta's sweltering heat, while enjoying local and international foods and beverages, such as soto, kebab and ramen.
Another visitor, 64-year-old Elly, has made this year's event a family outing.
"The last time Indonesia hosted the Asian Games was 56 years ago. So this is a once-in-a-lifetime event and I want to make sure my grandkids see for themselves what it's all about," Elly said.
She told the Jakarta Globe that she enjoys the festival as it gives her a bit of time to cool down and try different foods, but that she was disappointed with the lack of merchandise.
Right across the Bhin Bhin Zone, the Indonesian Asian Games Organizing Committee (Inasgoc) has established a shop that sells official 2018 Asian Games merchandise. It has attracted long queues throughout this year's event, with items usually selling out by midday.
Elly said she had been in line for quite some time, only to be informed later that most of the items were out of stock.
Inasgoc reportedly plans to keep pop-up stores in shopping malls across Jakarta open until the end of September to cater to ongoing demand for merchandise, even after the event ends.
With tickets for the 2018 Asian Games closing ceremony already sold out, those who still want to participate in the celebration can still attend an outdoor showing of the ceremony at the festival area.
Inasgoc has made 75,000 festival tickets available for Sunday, a representative said on Friday.
The closing ceremony will feature some of Asia's top performers, such as Super Junior and iKON of South Korea and Bunga Citra Lestari and Isyana Sarasvati of Indonesia.