LOWELL, Mass. — Thousands of people from around the world are in Lowell this weekend for the 21st annual Southeast Asian Water Festival.

The free event is dedicated to the preservation and sharing of the cultural heritages of Southeast Asian Americans of Lowell and the surrounding area. Lowell has one of the largest populations of Southeast Asians in the United States.

Organizers say more than 60,000 people come to Lowell every third Saturday in August for the boat races, food, crafts, cultural performances and blessings.

A no wake channel along the south bank of the Merrimack River from the Lowell Boat Club to the Rourke Bridge will be set up for use by boaters docked or moored at the club. During the festival, recreational boating is prohibited down river from the Rourke Bridge to the Pawtucket Falls.

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