Time: Saturday 16 September at 10:00 – 16:00
Place: Kattendijkdok Oostkaai, 2030 Antwerp
Entrance is free and there will be fun and entertainment for all the family
Thirty-six teams will take part in dragon boat races
Special attraction this year: a Rope Skipping team from Hong Kong
The Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, Brussels (HKETO, Brussels) is delighted to be the title sponsor of the wonderful Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival, now in its seventh year !
This colourful and exciting festival is one of the biggest annual events in Antwerp, and a great day out for all the family. Entrance is free. From the waterfront you can watch and cheer the 36 racing teams, many dressed in funny outfits, and there will be lots of choices of food and drink, including hot and cold food, Belgian beer and champagne. There will also be musical entertainment. Meanwhile, children can enjoy the activities laid on for them in the Kids' Village, including a bouncy castle, make-up, a magician and clowns.
Last year over 7,000 visitors came to enjoy the sporting and carnival atmosphere around the water. There will be a big marquee (tent) where people can sit to rest, eat and drink, or in case it gets chilly or there is the odd shower of rain (the event will go ahead whatever the weather). Visitors can also visit the tents of various participating organisations, including the tent of the HKETO, Brussels, where they can take part in a game and win prizes.
The HKETO, Brussels has entered two boats: Hong Kong Dragons, with a crew of staff and their family and friends, and Hong Kong's International Paddlers - a boat with a crew of expat and local paddlers. Many community groups and companies are also taking part in this team-building event. The University of Gent (UGent) and the University of Leuven (KU Leuven) are also fielding teams.
Special attraction: Hong Kong Rope Skipping Academy team S/L/A/S/H
All performers in this professional rope skipping team which is now touring Europe have won awards in different Asian and World Rope Skipping Championships. S/L/A/S/H is not just a rope skipping team, its performance routine also includes power movements, gymnastics and dancing. S/L/A/S/H performers will also engage with members of the public and show them how to do the moves.
A representative of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, Brussels will present the "Hong Kong Trophy", the biggest award of the day for the fastest team, at the end of the day.
The Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival is organised by Antwerp Rotary West. All profits will go to charities.
The Dragon Boat Festival in Hong Kong
In Hong Kong, the Dragon Boat Festival (Tuen Ng Jit in Cantonese) occurs on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month and is one of the most important Chinese festivals with the longest history, going back 2,000 years. Dragon Boat racing is also a prominent sport in Hong Kong at other times of year, with an estimated 30,000 active paddlers. The sport is becoming increasingly popular around the world and has ten official competition teams in the Netherlands alone. Belgium caught the bug in 2011, when the Festival was held in Antwerp for the first time at the initiative of Antwerp Rotary West.