From the oddly named "Tai-wiki-widbee" via a link at C. W. Swanson's place, here's a video clip from a rocket festival held recently in Thailand. The YouTube version posted here doesn't give any details in English, but comments on the LiveLeak version state:
These are not bamboo rockets well the stick part is but the main body of the rockets is blue plastic water pipe , the first spinning item has bamboo around the edge but the main body is usually steel , all this is a celebration to mark the end of the summer and start of the wet or rainy season , villages and town compete to see whos rocket can stay in the air the longest and thereby please the gods the most.
. . .
This festival is usually held before the rainy season in May, Both held in north eastern Thailand and Laos. One of the bigger ones held in Yasothon, Thailand. Also seen in the vid is if your rocket does not make it you get dumped in the mud lake... hence the guys covered in mud.
Whether the comments are accurate or not, it looks like a lot of fun. I recommend watching it in full-screen mode - but with the volume turned down to minimize the irritating music and commentary.
It seems everyone enjoyed themselves, even when they had to run like hell!