Leeds Dock Waterfront Festival to return for 2023 with British Street Food Awards and Dragon Boat Race

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The Leeds Waterfront Festival is making a return for 2023 and bringing the British Street Food Awards after a three-year hiatus.

Leeds Waterfront Festival has been the cornerstone of the city’s calendar every summer and will launch July this year. The family-friendly event promises a whole range of on and off-water activities and live entertainment, including open water swimming, paddle boarding, canoeing and kayaking.

The British Street Food Awards will be held as part of the festival on July 1-2 with 12 Northern traders to battle it out for the top prize including Little Red Eats from Leeds, Oi Dumplings from Manchester, and Acropolis from Newcastle.

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Two winners will be chosen from the competition, one selected by the Michelin-starred Will Lockwood, head chef of Roots York, and the other as a People’s Choice winner chosen by those attending the event. Both will go to the British Street Food Awards finals in London this August.

Leeds Waterfront Festival Dragon Boat Racing in 2019 (Photo: Steve Riding)Leeds Waterfront Festival Dragon Boat Racing in 2019 (Photo: Steve Riding)
Leeds Waterfront Festival Dragon Boat Racing in 2019 (Photo: Steve Riding)

Another highlight of the festival is the Leeds Dock Dragon Boat Race sponsored by The Canary Bar. The race will take place on Saturday, July 1 from 10am to 4pm. The boats competing this year will be smaller in size to give a speed boost to the participants.

Leeds Dock’s event director, Alex Webb, said: “The smaller dragon boats this year mean more people can get involved. Groups of mates can take on the challenge, or if you’re planning a hen or stag do, or big birthday celebration, this would be ideal. It’s something fun and different to do, and you get to flex your sporting prowess at the same time.”

Registrations are now open on the Leeds Dock website for up to 24 teams with minimum of six and maximum of 10 peddlers per boat with one drummer. For the event, one of the Leeds Dock water taxis will also be transformed into a dragon boat. People can enter a competition to rename the taxi temporarily to reflect its newly transformed dragon look.

The annual celebration is organised by Canal & River Trust alongside Leeds City Council, Leeds Dock, The Tetley, Citu, The Royal Armouries, and Granary Wharf.

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