Dragon boat racers take a fancy to dressing up for Hong Kong carnival

Food truck operators also report brisk business in sharp contrast to previous experience in less popular locations

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 04 June, 2017, 4:49pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 04 June, 2017, 10:55pm

It was all the fun of the fair, with people dressed as little piggies, prisoners and bananas braving the scorching heat to battle it out at the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Carnival along the Central harbourfront on Sunday.

People wore various costumes to take part in the carnival’s fancy dress competition.

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The event organised by the Hong Kong Tourism Board of course also drew professional dragon boat racers from all over the world.

It was not just the racers who were enjoying the event. The government allowed all of the city’s 14 food trucks to offer their fare at the carnival, with one owner happily reporting that his business went up 10 times compared to normal days.

At noon, temperatures in Central reached 30 degrees Celsius, making it the perfect time for dragon boat racers to keep cool in Victoria Harbour.

In the fancy dress competition, MTR staff showed they were not afraid of the heat by putting on banana costumes covering them from head to toe. They took second in the category; Dragons Abreast, a team of breast cancer survivors and their family members, won.

One racer, Raymond Wong, 30, said they decided to dress like bananas because there is a Chinese saying linking the fruit to energy.

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“It’s like we are here giving energy to everyone taking part in the race,” Wong said.

Ankeedh, 26 and from German Dragons Singapore, put on a pig’s nose to match his pink costume. And he only found out from his teammates about the costume when he arrived at the carnival. But he said he was not embarrassed and was enjoying the whole experience.

The government allowed all 14 food trucks to do business at the carnival.

Since the launch of the food truck programme in February, some operators in the two-year pilot scheme said it had been difficult to attract customers at certain locations. Each participant is required to operate at one of eight places for two weeks before moving to another location.

Two of 16 operators have already withdrawn from the programme.

But Gavin Chan Chi-wah, owner of W. Burger that has a food truck in partnership with Table Seven, said his business was up 10 times on normal sales at the three-day carnival. His daily revenue was in five digits during the carnival, which also featured game stalls and musical performances.

“The atmosphere here is great,” he said. “The people keep coming. We’ve been doing great business in the past few days.”

He said that the worst locations were Wong Tai Sin and Kwun Tong. He hoped the government would let food trucks do business at other events and carnivals.

“Locations are very important. Disney is a good location because there are many people walking past the trucks,” Wong said, adding that the government would allow seven of the 14 trucks to do business at another event in Tai Po later this month.

Not every truck would be allowed there because of limited space, he added.

Commerce minister Gregory So Kam-leung said some operators made about HK$20,000 on Saturday.