Oriental-style boat race - followed by barbecue - returns to the capital on October 27 and 28
Dragon Boat Festival returns to Shangri-La, Abu Dhabi
For the 10th year in a row, Abu Dhabi’s Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri will host the annual Dragon Boat Festival on October 27 and 28. The event has always been held at the venue, taking place along its kilometre-long stretch of sandy beach, and has become a highlight of the capital’s sporting calendar for participants and observers alike.
“The main goal behind hosting this exciting event,” says Jason Mackenzie, the festival’s race director, “is to generate a positive, educational and entertaining relationship between the Shangri-La family and the community at large by bringing a traditional activity from the East to Abu Dhabi.”
Teams consist of up to 20 people and register to compete with a fee of Dh2,500. Each team is supplied with a dragon boat, all necessary equipment and two hour-long training sessions with a seasoned expert. Past events have seen up to 2,000 people taking part and this year there will be a barbecue available to attendees, held at the neighbouring Traders Hotel for Dh170 per head.
The Dragon Boat Festival is organised by Siren Events, UAE Dragon Boat and UAE Sailing and Rowing Federation, to celebrate Shangri-La’s Asian heritage (it’s headquartered in Hong-Kong,) and, says Ulf Bremer, the general manager at the Abu Dhabi hotel, to build team spirit and promote a healthy lifestyle. With that in mind, he says, both the Shangri-La and Traders hotels enter their own teams.
Organisers are expecting approximately 100 local teams to take part, with the ranks being swelled by a further 20-or-so international teams for what is the largest festival of its kind in the country.