‘River Festival’ dazzles massive crowd

Daniel Lim

Crowds of residents and passers-by recently gathered along the bank of Belait River in Kampong Sungai Mau, Bukit Sawat to take part in several watersports activities conducted as part of the fourth Pesta Sungai (River Festival).

Organised by the Mukim Consultative Council (MPM) of Mukim Bukit Sawat in collaboration with the Village Consultative Council (MPK) of Kampong Bukit Sawat and Kampong Merangking, as well as the Belait District Office, the festival was held over two days in conjunction with His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam’s 73rd birthday celebrartion.

The festival began on August 17, showcasing a Mukun performance near the river. There was also a decorative boat event featuring boats adorned with lights floating along the river to illuminate the festivities.

Yesterday morning, the festival continued as boat rowers from Brunei Darussalam and neighbouring countries gathered once more to the riverside to partake in a series of rowing competitions.

Assistant Belait District Officer Abdol Azis bin Haji Ahad was present as guest of honour at the festival yesterday.

Participants in the thick of action during the competition. PHOTOS: DANIEL LIM
The guest of honour Assistant Belait District Officer Abdol Azis bin Haji Ahad handing over a prize to one of the winners
Spectators at the event

The morning saw rowers participate in several boat rowing competitions divided into five categories – single, double, triple, quadruple, and five-man.

As the participants competed along the river, cheers resounded in support of the rowers from spectators by the riverside.

The rowers also participated in the main draw of the competition, the River Tug-of-War, in which two teams comprising five rowers are pitted against each other in a test of strength and endurance as they attempt to out-paddle their opposition.

A massive crowd gathered along the riverside for the event, a recently added category to spice up the atmosphere of the festival.

Over 60 rowers participated in the event. The top three winners of each category received prizes from the guest of honour.

Several stalls and booths were also set up by entrepreneurs to sell food, drinks and services, which helped to enliven the atmosphere over the course of the festival.