Enriching event: The festival organisers’ representatives posing after the launch of the 2011 George Town Festival in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

To be held from July 1-31, the event is also celebrating George Town’s listing on Unesco’s World Heritage list and will feature over 80 programmes showcasing arts and culture.

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, who launched the event yesterday, said the event was to provide a platform to promote arts and culture and to engage stakeholders to work collectively.

“Not only is the festival aimed at promoting arts and culture, it is also to remind the public not to lose sight of other things in life while being in the rat race,” he said at the launch of the event, which was inaugurated last year.

Lim likened arts and culture to “good opium” and said that the state government was committed to promoting Penang on the international stage.

The George Town Festival is organised in collaboration with the Penang Island Municipal Council, George Town World Heritage Incorporated and Penang Global Tourism Sdn Bhd.

The highlights will include a cultural and fashion showcase on Peranakan Penang, a monologue performance inspired by Tan Tay Po, who was the seventh wife of Chinese tycoon Cheong Fatt Tze, an opera show and art exhibitions.