Participants getting their boats ready at Marudi wharf before the start of the pump boat race.
MARUDI: This usually quiet and peaceful town in the northern part of the state came to life yesterday with over 5,000 people thronging it to participate in and witness this year’s Baram Regatta which kicked off yesterday.
Visitors, especially participants from Miri, Bekenu, Bintulu and from as far as Kuching and neighbouring Brunei, arrived since Thursday to prepare for water sports events such as pump boats and speed boats which started yesterday.
All hotels, inns and lodging houses are fully booked, mostly months ahead while the usually peaceful roads have become busy with many visitors taking the land route to come here.
Besides competitions under categories of speed boat, pump boat, remote control boat and the traditional long boat were activities such as karaoke, Ratu Baram Regatta 2017, cultural nights, and decorated longboat performances.
The most awaited traditional paddling event is expected to draw bigger crowds to the town today and during the finals tomorrow (Sunday).
A total of 312 stalls have been set up this year selling various types of foods and drinks and traditional Orang Ulu costumes.
Head of state Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud is expected to arrive today while Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abg Johari Tun Openg will be coming for the opening ceremony tomorrow.
As of yesterday, the Regatta crowd has yet to reach 14,000 but the number is expected to rise today and tomorrow with the presence of the Head of State and Chief Minister.