HONG KONG--(Antara/BUSINESS WIRE)-- Dragon boat paddling, once a Chinese tradition honouring a poet-patriot from the 4th century, is today a professional team sport practised across continents. One of the world’s biggest regattas is held every year in Hong Kong, where the first modern international dragon boat race took place back in 1976.

In the 44th running of the Hong Kong International Dragon Boat Races scheduled for 14 to 16 June, around 180 teams with close to 5,000 athletes from 16 countries and regions, including Asian Games medallists, will be competing against one another in the famous Victoria Harbour of Hong Kong.

Since 2010, the races have been organised as part of the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Carnival, an event conceived by the Hong Kong Tourism Board to promote the competitive sport and the cultural experience behind it to tourists. While there are a few major racing events in the city, the Carnival creates a summer party from the sport by throwing in entertainment and culinary elements.

This year’s Carnival will return to the Central Harbourfront in the busiest financial district in the city, with a new crafts market and food section. Visitors will get a dose of local pop culture at the “Discovering Hong Kong Crafts Stories” Artisanal Market introducing indie designs including accessories carrying iconic Hong Kong motifs made from glass, leather, embroidery and more. Food trucks and stalls at the “Street Food Gala” will be serving up popular street food from burgers to German wursts and nourishing Chinese soup, some of which are specialties of Michelin-recommended restaurants.

The “Splash Fun Area” for water games, man-made beach and sunset concerts which were hugely popular last year will make a comeback to this family-friendly event.

Entrance to all activities is free. Highlights of the Carnival:

•Special races
◦“PRC 70th Anniversary CCB (Asia) Trophy” celebrating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the PRC
◦The invitation-only “5-hour ENERGY Hong Kong Trophy” for district-based local teams
◦The “Elite Partners Fancy Dress Competition” featuring paddlers in creative costumes

•First-ever “Discovering Hong Kong Crafts Stories” Artisanal Market
◦46 booths introducing over 100 handmade designs reflecting Hong Kong’s distinctive local culture
◦Free workshops for the public

•New “Street Food Gala”
◦16 food booths offering local and regional fares
◦6 food trucks serving up local street food, some of which is exclusive to the Carnival

•Family, music and charity elements
◦Man-made beach and “Splash Fun Area”
◦Sunset concerts featuring live performances by local indie singers/songwriters
◦“Row for Charity” activity in which HK$2,000 will be donated to the Arts with the Disabled Association Hong Kong for each kilometre participants rack up on the rowing machine

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Jennie Au Yeung

Source: Hong Kong Tourism Board

Reporter: PR Wire
Editor: PR Wire
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