Men and women quickly walk from the water's edge to long, vibrantly colored wooden boats to the beat of pounding drums. On Biscayne Bay, rowers yell as their boats roam in all directions and water splashes. Bienvenidos to Miami's version of the classic dragon boat race. Two separate competitions take place off our shores this month. This weekend vessels from New York, New Jersey, and Philadelphia clash against locals at the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival on the Intracoastal at Haulover Park. Next weekend teams race downtown at Bayfront Park. According to 2000-year-old tradition, dragon boats honor the ancient Chinese statesman Qu Yan. In the West the tradition has morphed into urban multicultural affairs as corporate teams and municipal departments turn out to boost morale. Though arepas and pinchos will be sold and there may be a belly-dancing performance in Miami's version, the dragon boat festivals will retain a taste of China, promises Johnson Ng, who coordinated this week's event. -- By Maya Ibars
The races start at 9:00 a.m. today and tomorrow at Haulover Park (10800 Collins Ave.). Admission is free. Call 305-345-8489. The Miami Dragon Boat Race and International Seafood Festival will be held Saturday and Sunday, October 18 and 19, in Bayfront Park, 301 Biscayne Blvd. Admission is free. Call 305-633-0168.
TV Pile Up
Championship rugby airs nonstop
Gird thy loins, rugby fans, it's World Cup Rugby time again: the once-every-four-years tournament where the top 20 teams compete for world supremacy. For the next 45 days Churchill's will be showing every match live on the bar's very very wide screen. See Argentina battle Ireland, Uruguay skirmish against Samoa, or the All Blacks of New Zealand take on Italy. And pack your No-Doz, because the host country this year is Australia, which means the earliest matches start at midnight Miami time and run through the night. Churchill's is located at 5501 NE 2nd Ave. Tickets cost $20 per match day; $150 for the whole tourney. Call 305-757-1807 for info. -- By John Anderson