Second Annual Dragon Boat Festival Planned for July 18, 2015

The region’s first dragon boat festival held in July, 2014 was such a resounding success that planning for the second annual dragon boat festival is already underway. As the captain of one festival team put it: “Participating in the festival was amazing…most of us had never heard of dragon boating. Now we are hip to one of the fastest-growing sports in the world!”

The 2015 event includes Dragon Boat race heats, prizes for the winners, food and other vendors, music and a lot of fun activities for participants, community members and families. Name your team, pitch your team tent, and bring family and friends to cheer you on! We are looking to double the number of teams paddling on Saturday, July 18 at the Dragons Alive headquarters site, Mohawk Valley Marine, 47 Mohawk Drive, Alplaus, NY 12008.

This will be a community festival, for the benefit of the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York, and is open to any organization which can field a team of 20 paddlers and a drummer, all over the age of 18. Last-year’s participants can’t wait to participate again!

“At the end of the day, we remembered the smiles, laughter, hugs, and the exhilaration of paddling a dragon boat!”;

“It is hard to imagine a more special way to combine a rewarding, team building, athletic activity that gives back to the community”;

“Many team members, accustomed to watching their kids’ sporting events from the sidelines, were excited to BE the athlete!”;

“We brainstormed team names, designed t-shirts, found fun ways to decorate our tent, and covered ourselves with fancy dragon tattoos.”

The sport originated in China in the 5th or 6th century, according to the Smithsonian Magazine, and possibly originated as either a military exercise or in rituals meant to appease the Dragon, protector of rivers, water and rain. It has grown in popularity around the world, and the Capital Region now supports two teams. “In addition to raising money for the Regional Food Bank, we hope that the festival will introduce people to Dragon Boating, and to the many opportunities for enjoying the Mohawk River,” according to Julie Tenan, President of Dragons Alive. “Mohawk Valley Marine has been a generous partner to our club, and in organizing the festival.”

No prior experience paddling a Dragon Boat is needed, especially since the registration fee/donation of $2000 includes a 1 hour practice session before the race event. Twenty paddlers plus a drummer constitute a full boat, but fewer paddlers (minimum of 18 paddlers recommended), can participate. Coaches and steerspeople for practices and race day, warm-up , boats, personal flotation devices, and paddles are all provided by the festival.

For registration form and more information, check www.dragonsalive.org or e-mail festival-info@dragonsalive.org.

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