SALFORD Quays will be filled with dancing dragons, lions and brightly coloured boats when the Chinese Dragon Boat Festival returns on Sunday June 17th.
The event is celebrating its sixth year in the city and people in Manchester and across the North West are invited to enjoy the exhilarating boat race and experience authentic Chinese culture.
Each year it attracts around 10,000 visitors and 32 teams made up of students from the universities in the city, business owners, charity workers and police officers will take part in the 2,000-year-old water sport.
The Rowbocops from Great Manchester Police are the current champions and will battle it out over the 200 metre course in a bid to retain their title.
“We’re very excited about this year’s event,” said Hongye Zheng, Chairman of the Xinhua Chinese Association who organise the festival.To have 32 teams involved is fantastic and we’re thrilled at how much the festival has grown since it began here in Salford.
“The teams put in so much time and dedication, training hard and decorating their boats in bright and vivid colours. There will be plenty of other attractions and it’s a fun day for all the family.”
The opening ceremony begins at 10.30am with speeches from representatives from Salford City Council and dignitaries from the Chinese community including Consul General Dali Sun.
As the peddlers prepare to race, huge dancing lions and dragons will take to the streets with a breathtaking display to delight visitors of all ages.
Then the teams, which are made up of one drummer and ten rowers, race through the water with the semi final and final race expected to take place at 2.30pm.
Visitors have plenty to see and do all day. Activities include Chinese folk dancing, singing and martial arts performances.Chinese cuisine stalls will line the waterfront offering traditional dishes like Zongzi, leaves filled with rice and Steam Buns and Chinese green tea.
Paul Dennett, Mayor of Salford, said: “I’m extremely proud to support the annual Chinese Dragon Boat Festival.
“Salford Quays is an ideal destination, home to some of the most spectacular attractions and iconic buildings in the UK and one of the north-west’s best cultural, sporting and leisure destinations.
“The race is a great spectacle and a chance for the whole family to experience Chinese culture, history and tradition. I wish all those taking part the best of luck and a warm welcome to the thousands of people who will line the Quays to watch.”
The premium sponsor is Watches of Switzerland and other sponsors include Aihomes, BCEGI, China Taiping, Bank of China, The Bank of East Asia, Panda Mami and Manchester Seafood.
The free event takes place from 10.30am to 5pm on Sunday June 17th at Huron Basin in Media City, Salford Quays and parking is available at the Lowry Designer Outlet.