Tempe to host Dragon Boast Festival

March 21, 2014 by  

Tempe residents can grab their binoculars and head out to the Arizona Dragon Boat Association’s 11th annual Dragon Boat Festival this weekend.

Approximately 80 teams participate each year in the free two-day boat racing even,t which attracts over 3,500 spectators. Proceeds will go to Arizona’s Special Olympics.

During the Festival vendors along the shore will provide food and children’s activities—entertainment will include Pacific and Asian music, along with dancers and martial artists. The races will be divided into six divisions: mixed men and women, men only, women only, collegiate, masters, and cancer survivors. Viewers may want to have banner printing done to support their favorite team.

Each of the 45-foot-long boats accommodates 20 paddlers, and a drummer is positioned in the front of each vessel on a separate boat. It is the drum beat that sets the rowing cadence. The person who steers the boat stands in the rear.

The colorful wooden boats were custom made in Taipei, China, which is Phoenix’s sister city. Interest in the sport started in 2001 when a group of local people were invited to participate in the International Dragon Boat Festival in Taipei.

The event will take place on the North side of Tempe Town Lake at the Marina, 550 East Tempe Town Lake, March 22-23, from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm.