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News article created on 17 August 2016

Britain's largest dragon boat race comes back to Birmingham

18 dragon boats are getting set to race each other across Edgbaston Reservoir this August bank holiday, as the centrepiece of a community festival celebrating Bangladeshi culture.

Dragon boat on Edgbaston Reservoir

The event, taking place on Sunday 28 August, is run by the Trust in partnership with Nowka Bais, Community Connect Foundation, Midland Sailing Club and Legacy WM.

In addition to the race, which is the largest of its kind in Britain, the carnival will include Bangladeshi street food, cultural stalls, a funfair, rowing and sailing taster sessions, as well as live music.

This traditional form of dragon boat style racing originates from the rural villages of Bangladesh and is normally held after the monsoon rains. Each boat was traditionally forty feet long, painted bright red, white, yellow and green, with a 16 man crew all robed in dazzling colours, paddling with boundless energy to the beat of the drummer in the prow of the boat.

An exciting spectacle

Bashir Ahmed, from the Trust, said: "It’s great to welcome the dragon boat race back to Edgbaston Reservoir, it’s a really exciting spectacle. We’re delighted our partners are choosing the reservoir as the venue, as we hope it helps to showcase everything our city’s waterways have to offer.

“The boat race is great fun and this year we’ve entered several teams made up of the Trust's staff and local volunteers who have been working with us so we’re really hoping they do well and clinch the winner’s trophy."

Johur Uddin from Nowka Bais, said: “This is a very traditional sport in Bangladesh and is influenced by the waterways which are an important element of Bangladeshi life. Nowka Bais is a jubilant, colourful, lively action pact event in Bangladesh and it is a joy bringing it to Birmingham once again."

For more details about the festival, visit nowkabais

Edgbaston Reservoir was built in 1827 by Thomas Telford as a top up for Birmingham canal system and is still used for that purpose today.