Paddles UP!

The 2016 season is full of new races and some familiar events that continue to be successes! We’re very excited about our biggest year so far. Here’s a preview of the events, with details about each race.

April 30

4th Annual Junior League of Tuscaloosa Dragon Boat Races – Tuscaloosa, AL
The Junior League of Tuscaloosa will change things up a bit this year on the Black Warrior River! We have a new venue and several new teams. Competition is always fierce, and the water is always moving fast, making for some fast times for racers. That will also be part of the change-up this year.

250 meter races

May 7

10th Annual Children’s Hospital Dragon Boat Festival – Chattanooga, TN
We’ve been so proud to be part of this event since its inception a decade ago. Thanks to the amazing local community, The Children’s Hospital Foundation at Erlanger has raised well over $1 million from paddlers who donate through this race. We look forward to seeing big things as we celebrate 10 years of fun and fundraising success.

250 meter races

May 14

5th Annual Decatur Morgan Hospital Foundation Dragon Boat Festival – Decatur, AL
Home to the largest dragon boat event in Alabama, 70-plus local teams race and raise $130,000-plus annually for the Decatur Morgan Hospital Foundation. For the fifth year, this race is expected to be just as big and filled with serious competition, excitement, cultural festivities and fun as it always is! Held at Point Mallard Park, more than 10,000 team members and spectators pack the beach area.

250 meter races

May 15

2nd Annual SEF Dragon Boat Festival – Sparta, NJ
Our contact with the Sparta Education Foundation told us he hoped to get enough teams when they organized their first race last year. About two months before race day, he called to say they had 42 teams and a waiting list. It was such a hit that registration is closing early again this year with 52 teams already registered. Teams raise money for SEF, which has donated more than $500,000 to Sparta schools since 2006.

250 meter races

May 21
4th Annual River Cities Dragon Boat Festival – Little Rock, AR

After relocating to a new venue last year, teams will return again to that venue at Lake Willastein Park. Friday night Fireworks led to a showdown on the water Saturday during intermittent rain showers in 2015. We hope the weather is nicer this year. Paddlers have been raising more than $100,000 annually for The Children’s Protection Center.

250 meter races

June 11
3rd Annual Fuse Project Dragon Boat Festival – Mobile, AL

We always think it can’t get any bigger and then The Fuse Project comes up with another amazing feat to make this one of the coolest dragon boat races around. Last year, two paratroopers dazzled the crowd with incredible stunts before landing near the finish line at the venue. This year, the venue itself will be a huge draw. The festival will be held at The USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park. It’s becoming a big hit with 61 teams registered so far. We look forward to making history at this one!

250 meter races

June 18
15th Annual Partners in Education Dragon Boat Summer Learning Festival – Toledo, OH 
This will be our first year providing equipment and services for this long-running festival, held on the Maumee River in Toledo. Up to 40 teams will paddle and raise money for Partners in Education, an organization that enhances student success through community engagement.

300 meter races

June 25

2nd Annual Fort Wayne Dragon Boat Races
The city of Fort Wayne will highlight its River during Riverpalooza and The Fort Wayne Dragon Boat Races this spring. Sponsors and teams are already lining up to take part. Thanks to a collaboration between the Mayor’s office, Mayor’s Youth Engagement Council, and local charities, this race will be a great second year event.

250 meter races

July 9
4th Annual Dragons on the Lake Festival – Akron, OH
The  pinkest festival on our calendar returns to the scenic Portage Lakes State Park for another year of community driven fun with lots of spirit. Benefiting Boatloads of Hope, a breast cancer outreach program of the Dragon Dream Team of Ohio, and sparking some of the most uniquely pink team names like, “Hello Titty” and “Ta-Ta Patrol”. Between the beach setting, Big Pink Chair, breast cancer survivors and supporters, plus the competition, this is a great place to race!

250 meter races

July 9
4th Annual Marshall County Habitat Dragon Boat Festival – Guntersville, AL
A team that tried for a couple of years to get Gold captured it by a dragon’s nose last year in an exciting final. Marshall Christian Academy will likely return again at this race at Civitan Park on Lake Guntersville. One of the most beautiful settings on calm water, this event benefits Marshall County Habitat for Humanity.

250 meter races

July 16

2nd Annual St. Lawrence River Dragon Boat Challenge in Ogdensburg, NY
Last year we introduced dragon boat racing to a small community in upstate New York, where almost no one knew of the sport. But they had all heard we were coming, and we made quite the impression. Everyone who paddled loved race day! We’re returning to see if the River Tarts, a team of all 18 female paddlers and two men, can reclaim Gold with an all female team this time. Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center hosts this fundraiser to generate funds for the Children’s Miracle Network and the North Country Community Foundation.

250 meter races

July 16

Inaugural West Point Lake Dragon Boat Festival in LaGrange, GA
West Point Lake looks like the perfect place for a dragon boat fundraiser for Harmony House in LaGrange, GA. Raising money to provide emergency shelter, crisis intervention, education and advocacy for adults and children who are victims of domestic violence, teamwork off the water will help raise needed funds.  Harmony House provides assistance through personal education and training to help break the cycle of domestic violence and regain control of their lives.

250 meters

July 30

3rd Annual Mississippi Delta Dragon Boat Festival
Two-time champs Greenville Cardiology Delta Heart Attacks will go for a three-peat on Lake Ferguson, an oxbow lake inside the Mississippi River levee. The Greenville community bonds for this race, which also celebrates the long history of the Chinese in the Delta through fellowship, fun competition, and  cultural education.

250 meter races

 

August 20
5th Annual Habitat Dragon Boat Festival – Gadsden, AL
A local community comes together at this race, featuring paddlers raising money to build homes for Habitat for Humanity. An event that grows every year, paddlers win on the water and off the water with spirit and tent awards. Benefiting the Gadsden-Etowah Habitat for Humanity, word has it some out of town teams will be checking out this race in 2016 on the Coosa River.

250 meter races

Inaugural Drums on the Dam Dragon Boat Festival
United Way of Sevierville was looking to produce a dragon boat race in 2015, but wisely postponed to allow more time for planning. And now that preparation is in full swing. Logistics are being worked out while local teams and sponsors begin to form. A great committee has been assembled full of people who want to make this a successful event. That’s the best way to begin. We look forward to the first of many fun years at Douglas Dam Lake, in the beautiful backdrop of the Great Smoky Mountains.

250 meter races

August 27

2nd Annual TCWN Dragon Boat Races – Knoxville, TN
The Tennessee River in Downtown Knoxville is an eclectic setting for a dragon boat race. We had it all for this race last year – beautiful venue that so many complimented, beer & barbecue from Sweet P’s, vendors, animals from the zoo, networking and excellent racing. A benefit for The Tennessee Clean Water Network, several teams have already added this to their schedule this year. Join us!

250 meter races

2nd Annual Wheeling Dragon Boat Festival 
Dragon Boat racing made quite the debut last year in Wheeling, West Virginia, attracting local teams full of people who are now addicted to the sport. Dragon Boat Wheeling is a benefit for The King’s Daughters Child Care Center whose goal is to provide an environment that will enrich the life experiences of each child so as to promote growth and development within a positive and healthy framework. Planning is in full swing for this year, which will be bigger and better.

250 meter races

September 10
10th Annual Cumberland River Dragon Boat Festival – Nashville, TN
The venue changed slightly last year in downtown Nashville – just across the river from where it had been since the beginning. The atmosphere was electric, with music and dancing, costumes and happy people. As we approach a decade of dragon boating in Music City, this year will be a must attend. The Cumberland River Dragon Boat Festival at Riverfront Park will likely continue to grow. Benefiting the Cumberland River Compact, the race highlights its work on the river while inviting those in the city raise money to help preserve its future.

250 meter races

2nd Annual River Valley Dragon Boat Festival
Thanks to a popular first year, more teams are likely this time around for the 2nd River Valley Dragon Boat Festival in Fort Smith, AR. Hamilton House Child & Family Safety Center raises money for its efforts in fighting child abuse and neglect. Fort Smith is the second largest city in Arkansas, and Hamilton House responded to more abuse calls than any other city in the state – more than 800. The need is big, but when a community comes together, they all win!

250 meter races

 

September 18
3rd Annual Lewes Dragon Boat Festival, benefiting Sussex Academy – Lewes, DE
This race gets more exciting every year! Limited to 36 teams due to limited venue space, team registrations sell out by spring. Two-time defending champs Law Offices of Griffin and Robertson surprised everyone with a comeback win. It’s a great reminder that working together is the best strategy. A great steerer doesn’t hurt. The team put big money toward the more than $40,000 total raised in the steerers’ auction. It’s always fun to see what happens every year at this festival, benefiting Sussex Academy.

400 & 200 meter races

September 24

Pittsburgh Dragon Boat Festival – Pittsburgh, PA
Experienced dragon boaters are bringing the sport to their local community in Pittsburgh. The Steel City Dragon Boat Association, with two competitive dragon boat teams, will utilize their knowledge and connections to make this a big inaugural event. Already securing several sponsors and teams, we look forward to racing on the man made North Park Lake this fall.

250 meters

October 1

4th Annual Shoals Dragon Boat Festival – Florence, AL
After another successful third event, the Shoals welcomes back dragon boat racing. A benefit for the only laboratory school in Alabama, Kilby Laboratory School, Florence, AL has become a serious dragon boat racing town.  Nearly all of the teams are competitive and strong. And they all want to win. As Event Organizer Emily Rhodes would say, “Paddles Up, Shoals”!

250 meters

October 8

Big Easy Dragon Boat Festival – New Orleans, LA
Pontchartrain Landing In Partnership with the New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation and The Racine Foundation host the Inaugural Big Easy Dragon Boat Festival. Dragon Boats are a watersport which have their roots in an ancient folk ritual of contending villagers, which have been held for over 2,300 years in ancient China.

250 meters

October 9
Ridgefield Park Dragon Boat Festival – Ridgefield Park, NJ

More information is forthcoming about this event, which will support the Ridgefield Park Junioe Senior. High School Booster Club.

250 meters

October 22

3rd Annual Washington Dragon Boat Festival – Washington, NC
The last event on our calendar is a first for us; this festival, in its third year, is held the same weekend as “Smoke on the Water”, a championship barbecue competition. We’ve heard some pretty competitive military teams and other incredible local and club teams will make for an interesting battle on the water.

250 meters

Keep track of our schedule and highlights from this year. Our website racedragonboats.com is consistently updated. Stay tuned – more races may be added.

We look forward to seeing you on the water.

Paddles Up!

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