Dragon Boat Racing, enjoyed in China for over 2000 years, has spread in popularity throughout the United States. Each boat is 45 feet long, from head to tail. 20 paddlers sit side by side in 10 rows. In the stern, a steersperson stands on a platform and guides the boat through the water, and in the bow a drummer sits facing the crew, beating the drum to coordinate the stroke rate of the paddlers.
What is most exciting is the growth of the sport at the grassroots level. Dragon Boat Racing is great fun for anyone, young or old. Although most international crews are either all male or female, national and regional events attract primarily mixed teams from corporations, public service groups, clubs sponsored by small businesses, high schools, colleges and universities. There are now over 70 communities hosting Dragon Boat Festivals in the U.S. alone, and over 60 million participants worldwide.
I first became aware of dragon boats when my sister Susan who lives in Connecticut started to participate on a team. As part of an effort to revitalize the area along the Connecticut River in Hartford, several major events take place in Riverfront Park. The annual Riverfront Dragon Boat Races and Asian Festival has attracted increasing attendance with 67 teams and over 1,600 paddlers competing. Plan to watch August 18and 19.
Texas has one in Houston on May 5 and another in Sugarland October 10-12,
There are many more. Check your town or somewhere within a day trip distance and learn something new about this kind of racing!