The Water Festival will be held on a bigger scale this year to mark the success of the recent national election and other achievement’s, a government official said yesterday.
Bun Veasna, a National Committee for Organising National and International Festivals official, said yesterday that the government wants this year’s celebration to surpass last year’s and he expects more boats to take part.
“The Water Festival celebration this year will be bigger than the previous year in line with a recommendation from Prime Minister Hun Sen in order to congratulate the people over the success of the national election,” he said. “This year we will also have the world’s longest boat on display.”
Mr Veasna noted that so far about 280 boats are registered to race at this year’s festival.
“We do not have the latest figure on the number of boats taking part because some provinces have not yet sent in their entries to the organising committee,” Mr Veasna said, adding that he hopes more people will join the festival.
Last month, City Hall created a committee and five subcommittees to organise the Water Festival which will be held from November 21 to 23.
Mr Veasna noted that authorities are taking steps to ensure safety and security for participants.
“We, together with the festival committee; City Hall; security forces and relevant institutions are already taking steps to protect the people and we don’t foresee any problems,” he said. “The committee will hold another meeting on the festival to ensure it runs smoothly and everyone is happy.”
Held over three days, last year’s festival in the capital attracted more than 1.3 million visitors. About 270 boats, along with their 17,826 rowers, participated in the races.
Last week, the Information Ministry reported that the National AIDS Authority will distribute 30,000 free condoms to people attending the Water Festival.
Dr Teng Kunthy, secretary general of NAA, said an NAA working group is preparing to organise a campaign to educate people about AIDS and will have mobile vehicles to disseminate information and distribute the free condoms.