Chonburi Annual Water Buffalo Racing FestivalBy Garry | October 16th, 2010 | Category: Regional Events & Festivals | 2 comments
Water buffalo are used for ploughing fields in Thailand, but at the Chon Buri Buffalo Races they are put to a very different use. Side events include a buffalo fancy dress contest, a healthy buffalo contest, and the Miss Farmer Pageant.
The annual Buffalo Race, held around the 11th lunar month -normally in October, is a hotly contested series of sprints across on the municipality fields in front of the town’s municipal offices.
The lunar calendar dating of the event means the dates shift on the western calendar each year. In 2009, the racing took place from 4th October. In 2010, between the 16th and 22nd of the same month.
The week long festival will begin with a traditional Thai parade involving Chonburi and the surrounding districts displaying unique Thai cultural traditions surrounding the festival. The opening ceremony will be followed by the ‘Buffalo Pageant,’ where awards will be given to the best male and female buffalo, followed by several other pageant style competitions involving trainers, breeders and jockey’s. A variety of concerts are planned for the festival, involving numerous well-known Thai artists from the Country and Pop music scenes.
Water buffalo have always played a significant role in agriculture in Thailand, but in this yearly event, the creatures are seen in more unusual and entertaining activities than ploughing fields. They take part in buffalo races, and contests pitting buffalo against man, there’s even beauty and fancy dress competitions for them. Both town residents and tourists turn out for the amazing Buffalo racing that has been featured previously on CNN and the BBC as a must-see event. Thai Buffalo racing is taken very seriously by the owners of the animals. Prizes for the first nose past the finish line guarantee owners go to considerable lengths to ensure their buffaloes are in tip-top condition.
You could be forgiven for thinking that a domesticated buffalo is not built for sprinting, but in Chonburi town, the gateway to resorts along the east coast of the Gulf of Thailand, farmers have managed to tweak a turn of speed from these working animals that is nothing short of amazing. Clouds of dust rise as these hefty animals pound down the short course at an alarming speed, reminiscent of a stampede. The crowd roars in support of the favorites and the atmosphere is as enthralling as watching thoroughbred race horses; admittedly a bit slower than race horses, yet the buffaloes are no slouches when it comes to making a short dash for glory.
Although this day of fun and competition would succeed with just the buffaloes as the celebrities, there are other activities to make it a worthwhile outing for families. A fair with food stalls and handicrafts appeals to visitors who love authentic Thai food, snacks, and sweets. Then there are the rides for children, concerts of folk music, and, of course, a beauty contest where the prize is the honour of being declared Miss Buffalo … which in regular Thai culture might not be the most diplomatic of titles to give an aspiring beauty queen. Still, the normal connotations of such a name doesn’t seem to stop plenty of contestants from parading on the catwalk.
The Chonburi Buffalo Race is a festival that provides unique photo opportunities capturing an unusual adaptation of the 100-metre dash. It’s well worth seeing for yourself.
For more information and to check dates and additional events -
TAT Central Region office: Region 3, Chon Buri
609 Moo 10 Pratamnak Rd.,Tambon Nong Prue, Banglamung, Chonburi 20260
Tel. 038 423990, 038 427667, 038 428750
Fax. 038 429113
E-mail Address: firstname.lastname@example.org