Decatur’s Newest Event to Make Waves in the River City
Decatur’s newest event is expected to make waves in the River City when sixty teams and 1200 paddlers compete for medals and bragging right in the inaugural Dragon Boat Race and Festival. Set for May 12, 2012 in the Point Mallard Park Aquatic Center, the Dragon Boat Race and Festival will be a unique cultural event featuring adrenaline-pumping action while also serving as a fundraiser for the Decatur General Foundation.
Dragon boat racing is the eighth fastest growing sport in the world, with more than 50 million people in 63 countries participating. The tradition of Dragon Boat Racing is an annual Chinese rite commemorating the idealistic poet and reformer Qu Yuan who drowned himself in the third century B.C. to protest against his emperor’s policies. The locals raced in their boats in an attempt to rescue the poet, and beat their drums and splashed their paddles to prevent fish and water dragons from eating his body. This was considered the beginning of Dragon Boat Racing. For more information about dragon boat racing, visit www.racedragonboats.com.
Teams, comprised of 20 paddlers, a drummer and a trained dragon boat steerer/coach, will race in authentic Hong Kong-style, 46-foot-long dragon boats. Teams may have four alternates, for a total of 25 team members, or can race with a minimum of 16. There must be at least eight female paddlers and minimum age for adult teams is 15 with parental consent. Each team is guaranteed at least two races on the 250-meter race course with winners advancing to the finals.
Racing starts at 9 a.m. and events last throughout the day until approximately 4 p.m., rain or shine. Spectators may watch and cheer on their favorite team from the beach area of the Point Mallard Aquatic Center or from the water at a safe distance from the race course. The concession stand will be open throughout the event. Water Park pools and rides will be closed.
Admission and parking is free. Donations will be accepted with proceeds benefiting the Decatur General Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization providing financial support to the programs and services of Decatur General Hospital.
For more information on the inaugural Decatur General Foundation Dragon Boat Race and Festival, visit www.dgfdragonboatfestival.org.
About The Decatur-Morgan County Convention & Visitors Bureau (DMCCVB)
The Decatur-Morgan County Convention & Visitors Bureau is a not-for-profit organization promoting tourism and economic growth in Morgan County. For information on special events and attractions in Decatur and Morgan County, contact DMCCVB at 800.524.6181 or 256.350.2028; or visit their website at www.decaturcvb.org.