OWENSBORO, Ky. (8/23/13) - You can expect at least 30 tents, hundreds of paddlers, and thousands of cheering crowd in English Park off 2nd Street in Owensboro this Saturday! 3 teams will race at the same time in the Ohio River, while the other 3 teams will load and unload. It will be a fun-packed event that you can bring your families and friends to enjoy!
Some teams are from out of town
Owensboro Dragon Boat Festival started 3 years ago with 14 teams, and 21 last year. This year City of Owensboro has recruited 30 teams and some competitive teams are from out of town, like Chattanooga, TN, Indiana, and Bowling Green. Two women teams, and 14 teams from Corporate Challenge will make this race more diverse. On top of the competitive, women, and Corporate Challenge, there is the recreational category that amateurs can race for fun! It takes 20 people to row and 1 drummer to keep the team going in rhythm. Some teams have more than 21 on the roster, so they can rotate in case some get tired after they row. The whole length of the race is about 2 football fields. You have to be 15 years old to be able to row. For example, Owensboro Human Relations Commission's Diversity Paddlers comprises members from 15 to 72 years old, women and men, high school students to retired senior citizens, one Marine, Chinese-Americans, Latino, African-Americans, and Indian-American. What a range!
Dragon Boat Festival originated in China 2000 years ago
Traditional held on the fifth day of the fifth moon on the Chinese lunar calendar--late May to June on the solar calendar (June 23rd in 2012)--the Dragon Boat Festival commemorates the life and death of the ancient patriot-poet Qu Yuan who lived from 340-278 B.C. Now dragon boats not only race in the rivers of China, it has also become popular international sport. Some of the places in the United States like Florida, Chicago, Kansas, Philadelphia even Evansville all have dragon races. The 6 boats that in the Owensboro Dragon Festival are rented from Florida. The Florida company sent their professional to train all the teams in one and only practice, and all the paddlers will have to wear life jackets. Pretty safe but a lot of fun! It is a great team building event for companies and schools!
Dotting the Eye
Since this festival came from China, Owensboro Mayor Ron Payne will perform the traditional Dotting the Eye ceremony. Legend says that when you dot the dragon's eyes with red, the dragon will wake up and take off! Quite interesting! There will also be the Chinese dragon dance, taichi, and even the story of Dragon Boat Festival by Owensboro High School drama department as part of the entertainment!
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