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History of Jakarta Fair

The longest and largest exhibition in Southeast Asia, Jakarta Fair or Pekan Raya Jakarta (PRJ) Kemayoran, will be held again at the Jakarta International Expo (JIEXPO) Kemayoran, Central Jakarta, for 33 days, from June 14-July 16, 2023.

PRJ Kemayoran 2023, which was held to enliven the 496th Anniversary of DKI Jakarta, could be the last to be held in Jakarta as the National Capital. Starting in 2024, the National Capital has moved to Nusantara Capital City in Penajam Paser Utara, East Kalimantan Province.

The location of the annual event in the JIEXPO area, Kemayoran, Central Jakarta will present a variety of entertainment, promotion of superior products as well as various discounts and music concerts. Referring to the Jakarta Fair website, JFK, which became the 54th event this year, raised the theme “United Indonesia Supports Domestic Trade and Exports to the World Market”.

Acting Governor of DKI Jakarta, Heru Budi Hartono, explained that the Jakarta Fair continues to transform into a modern exhibition event that showcases superior domestic and international products. In 2023, Jakarta Fair will enter its 54th exhibition.

“This long journey proves the consistency in presenting quality multiproduct exhibitions, Jakarta Fair as one of the largest, longest and most comprehensive exhibitions in the Southeast Asia region,” Heru said after accompanying Indonesian President Joko Widodo to open Jakarta Fair 2023, Wednesday (6/14/2023).

For this reason, Heru invites all parties to make the Jakarta Fair activity a forum to strengthen the domestic economy, optimize the potential of local products and encourage industrial and state growth.

Marketing Director of JiExpo Kemayoran Ralph Scheunemann said, Jakarta Fair Kemayoran 2023 was attended by 2,500 participating companies consisting of 1,500 booths with various superior products with discounts. “There are 2,500 tenants with 1,500 booths, and what is encouraging is that the distribution is approximately 60 percent of the private sector and 40 percent of MSMEs,” said Ralph.

This year’s Jakarta Fair is the 54th since it was first held in 1968. This annual event was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic that hit Indonesia.

After reopening since the vacuum in 2020 and 2021, this time JFK became very lively because it was attended by business actors who wanted to take part in the momentum of the revival of the national economy which had slumped. They offer fashion products, accessories, electronics, furniture, automotive, and culinary products participating in the event.

Jakarta Fair is also famous for its music stage. Every year there are always top national musicians from pop, rock, disco, jazz to dangdut enlivening the event in Kemayoran.

Since it was still called Pekan Raya Jakarta, Jakartans and even those outside Jakarta have always come to shop at the annual event. The attraction of PRJ is the offer of new products and massive discounts on almost all products sold at the fairgrounds. Especially if the PRJ coincides with Eid al-Fitr, people are sure to buy everything sold there. From children’s clothing to motorcycles.

Not to forget the excitement of boom-boom car games, Ferris wheels, and iconic foods such as kerak telor, donut cakes, and cotton candy. The 1970s to 1990s generation, when they were children and teenagers, certainly made PRJ a favorite family destination.

Starting from Gambir Market

Quoting data from the North Jakarta Library and Archives Office, PRJ was once known as Djakarta Fair. The first PRJ event took place in the Monas area, Central Jakarta. At that time, the Djakarta Fair was symbolically opened by President Soeharto by releasing carrier pigeons.

However, the actual origin of the Jakarta Fair was the Gambir Night Market, which was originally held as a celebration of Dutch Queen Wilhelmina on August 31, 1898. At that time, Gambir Night Market usually took place from late August to mid-September and was held regularly every year.

In addition to selling products, culinary specialties of Batavia (old Jakarta) and entertainment performances, the Gambir Market event in the Dutch colonial era also held boxing matches between natives and Dutch people. Apart from Gambir Market, boxing matches were held at Deca Park (now Monas field), Varia Park (Krekot), and Princen Park (Lokasari).

Meanwhile, the first idea for organizing PRJ was proposed by the Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) at that time, Syamsudin Mangan alias Haji Mangan. He proposed holding a large exhibition in order to boost the marketing of domestic products.

Haji Mangan himself was inspired by the international exhibitions he often participated in abroad. DKI Jakarta Governor Ali Sadikin in 1967 welcomed the idea after hearing it from Haji Mangan.

The DKI Provincial Government wanted to unify the various ‘night market’ events that were often held in various areas in Jakarta. Finally, in 1968 the first Djakarta Fair event was a success. Visitors to Djakarta Fair at that time swelled to 1.4 million people.

One year after its inauguration, the Jakarta Fair was held for 71 days, setting a record as the longest exhibition. That year, US President Richard Nixon, accompanied by Indonesian President Soeharto, also visited the Jakarta Fair in 1969.

In 1992, the Jakarta Fair or PRJ was moved from Monas to Kemayoran, Central Jakarta in order to get a larger land area. PRJ in Kemayoran itself was held in an area of 44 hectares (ha), while in Monas only 7 ha.

Although it was stopped for two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic. But since last year, the interest of Jakarta and surrounding areas has never subsided to enliven the Kemayoran PRJ arena. (Indonesia.go.id)

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