Throughout the day next Saturday dozens of boats from across Florida and the Southeast will assemble in Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park to test their mettle as part of Tampa Bay International Dragon Boat Races.

Organizers Pan American Dragon Boat Association, in partnership with The Junior League of Tampa, expect 8,000 spectators to watch more than 50 local, national and international teams race. Each boat holds 20 paddlers backed up by a drummer to keep them on time, as they dig hard with each stroke in a sprint toward the finish.

Grab a waterfront seat in the park, observation deck or along the Tampa Riverwalk to catch the action and cheer for your favorite team.

The following weekend, thousands more will gather for the Tampa Riverfest, Tampa's annual Riverwalk celebration. This year's family-friendly event, presented by Friends of the Riverwalk and the City of Tampa, will introduce a Hot Dog Festival on Saturday. Thanks to a new partnership with Nathan's Hot Dogs, the hot dog eating contest will send Tampa winners to The Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island, New York.

“These two major events confirm why visitors have lately come to expect year-round excitement in Tampa Bay” said Santiago Corrada, President & CEO of Visit Tampa Bay. “Week after week our partners and locals show their love for Tampa by organizing high-quality events that have transformed our city into one of the hottest destinations in the country.  Our new Riverwalk is the latest star of our dynamic evolution.”

The Junior League of Tampa President Nicole Hubbard added: “More than ever, the Tampa Bay community has been working towards improved health and wellness with our children and our environment. This event draws spectators to the Tampa Riverwalk and allows the community to enjoy one of its greatest assets-the waterfront,“ Hubbard said.