DUBAI // Thousands of people are expected at Festival Marina this weekend for a free boating extravaganza. The inaugural Dubai Boating Festival, which runs today through tomorrow, will include helicopter-rescue displays, boat races, bungee jumping and sailing competitions. Phil Blake, the marina's manager, said: "In a country which boasts such a fabulous coastline and such a rich maritime history, it struck us that we should celebrate this and encourage people who may not have visited the marina or experienced the adrenalin rush of a jet boat to come and join in the fun.
"We hope this will become an annual event and put Dubai on the map with the international boating community." The festival is to begin boatbuilding demonstrations, dragon boat displays and dinghy racing. There will also be a floating wheelchair race to raise funds for children with special needs. The festival continues tomorrow with charter boat cruises and a race for 14 teams that have built rafts from recycled materials such as plastic bottles. The event will include bungee jumping in front of the Intercontinental hotel, children's entertainment, kite-sailing and chartered helicopter flights costing Dh1,250 per person for a 30-minute trip.
Tom Miles, manager of Festival Centre shopping complex, said: "The festival will be a chance for residents and visitors to experience the vibrancy of the area while getting involved in the fantastic activities planned for the two days." More information is available at www.festivalcentre.com firstname.lastname@example.org