2010 Qingdao Int'l Marine Festival Kicks off
China's sailing capital Qingdao has kicked off its 2010 International Marine Festival at the Olympic Sailing Center.
Now in its eleventh year, the festival invites visitors especially sailing enthusiasts from around the world to an ocean feast.
Lance Crayon files this report from Qingdao.
With a variety of traditional and military band performances, as well as singing and dancing, the festival is set against a slight overcast but otherwise beautiful day.
A Chinese Navy warship is docked at the pier and visitors are allowed to board for a quick tour.
It draws a crowd of local citizens and visitors.
"I read about it in the newspaper and am excited to bring my wife and daughter here. This is my first time to attend the festival and it is my first time to see the warships."
"We come here every year. The festival has achieved a larger scale. As a Qingdao resident, I'm proud of my hometown."
"I'm from Germany. The government is investing a lot in leisure activities. They are trying to get everything that has to do with sailing to bring to Qingdao. It's great."
The festival will be composed of four blocks, such as navy activities, ocean tourism culture, ocean sports, and the Qingdao International Sailing Week.
Also taking place during the month-long event, the 8th China International Marine Fair will be held at the Sailing Center between August 21st and the 23rd.
During this exhibition, boating and sailing equipment will be on display, and yacht shows along with sailing tests and rides will be arranged for tourists.
Qiu Yue, director of the Information Office of the Organizing Committee of the festival says the event has attracted more attention from around the world.
"During International Sailing Week, there will be an Olympic Sailing City Mayors Forum and International Sailing Summit. More than three hundred guests from China and abroad will join the forum. Meanwhile, an International Yacht Race and a Sino-US beach volleyball competition will be held."
He adds the festival has brought economic benefits to the city while promoting Qingdao's traditional culture and tourism service.
"The festival brought nearly one million visitors to the festival in twenty days last year. The government saw a 30 percent increase in the catering industry in festival avenues. The goal of the festival is to eventually establish a brand for the city so as to attract more people from around the world."
Qingdao is the sailing epicenter of China. Two years ago it displayed its facilities and capabilities while hosting the 2008 Olympic sailing competitions.
Since then it has proven itself as a major international destination for many sailing competitions, while at the same time bolstering local sailing enthusiasm.
For CRI, I'm Lance Crayon in Qingdao.