Basics & Safety

Mandatory Skill Level
For safety reasons, novice teams will be permitted to participate in the event only if they have practiced first.

A trained steersperson is mandatory for each team. You may supply your own steersperson, or — upon request — the Festival will provide one at no charge. You may also want up to three people to act as spares.

What the entry fee includes
The entry free includes a training seminar and two practice sessions. Please make arrangements for your team to learn the basics of Dragon Boat racing.

Training seminar and practices
A training seminar and four days of practice will be available.
Schedule your practice times early. Only a limited number of evening spots will be available.
A training seminar will be held and practice times will be available.
You are encouraged to have as many members of your team as possible at the practices.

Attendance at practices
Encourage your team members to attend practices.
Practice times will be available only for out-of-town teams, upon request.

Composition of dragon boat teams
Each dragon boat team consists of 20 paddlers (minimum of 8 females), a drummer, and a steersperson.
A trained steersperson is a requirement.
Dragon boats are very stable, making them suitable for participants of all abilities.
Dragon boat racing is open to men and women over the age of 14 and of any level of ability.
No experience is necessary — a training seminar and practice sessions are included in the registration fee.

A little dragon boat history
For 2 400 years, dragon boat racing has been an important part of Chinese culture, and a celebration of life. The dragon is the most venerated of the Chinese zodiac deities and symbolizes control over the water.
According to the legend, Qu Yuan, a Chinese statesman and poet, drowned himself in the Mi Lo River in 400 BC to protest the corrupt regime of the Chu Dynasty. Fishermen who saw him raced out to save him, but failed. To prevent his body from being eaten by fish, they beat the waters with their paddles and threw rice dumplings wrapped in silk into the water as a sacrifice to his spirit.
The act of those fishermen racing out to save him is re-enacted in the form of dragon boat races, and is celebrated on the 5th day of the 5th moon of the Chinese lunar calendar. Each anniversary, dragon-headed boats race out on the waters to commemorate Qu Yuan and to scare away demons.
Today, Dragon Boat races are held on every continent. Each festival brings together hundred of people from the public, private, and volunteer sectors of the community. In addition to the races, participatns and spectators enjoy exciting activities and entertainment.