A DRAGONBOAT has gone on display at a shopping centre as the countdown to this year’s Bradford Dragonboat Festival continues.

The 21-man boat will be in The Broadway for the next two weeks before it moves to Roberts Park, Saltaire, for the festival, which runs between Friday, May 5, and Sunday, May 7.

The Broadway are one of the advertisers at the event and the branded boat went on display outside some of its shops for the first time yesterday.

Ian Ward, general manager of The Broadway, said: “The Bradford Dragonboat Festival has captured the imagination and the goodwill of people right across Bradford.

“It’s not only a huge event and great weekend of fun and fitness for people in the city, but it’s an amazing fundraiser and something we are proud to support.

“The huge dragonboats really are a spectacle, and we’re sure our shoppers will be thrilled to get a close look while it sits on the mall.”

Razwana Mahmood, team liaison for the festival, said: “We are absolutely delighted that The Broadway wants to support the whole festival and for the whole community.

“It is going to be on display there for the next two weeks until the festival starts.”

The event, held on a 200-metre-long course on the river at Roberts Park, will take place over three days for the first time this year. A youth competition will get the festival under way on Friday, May 5, with its youth championship, where teams of youngsters aged 11 to 19 taking to the water.

This will be followed by a main festival day on Saturday, May 6, with 40 competing teams, each featuring 16 paddlers and one drummer, taking part in two rounds of heats.

They will be racing against the clock, with the three fastest teams battling it out for the title in the day’s final. Crowds will be treated to entertainment including music, during the event.

Saturday’s races will also be shown live on big screens in both Roberts Park and City Park.

Places are still available for the corporate championship held on Sunday, May 7. This is open to teams of both residents and businesses from across the district.

Teams of 17 people in each boat, with a maximum of three further reserve competitors, will compete in up to three races.

Participants on the first two days will be encouraged to raise funds for the Lord Mayor’s Appeal, which this year is children and young people’s mental health charity Young Minds, which has been chosen by the Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Geoff Reid.

For more information, or to sign up to take part in Sunday’s competition, go to bradforddragonboatfestival.co.uk.