It’s a win win situation. For the teams rowing their hearts out to the beat of a drum, Dragon Boat Racing is a great workout, a team-building exercise and a fun day on the water. For the crowds watching from the river banks, the races are an exhilarating spectator sport with roots in ancient China.
Madisonville, on the banks of the wide and lovely Tchefuncte River, has hosted the Greater New Orleans International Dragon Boat Festival since 2011. Each May, around 40 teams come together in friendly competition to vie for honors and bragging rights in a series of 500-meter races on the river.
Each team has 20 paddlers, a drummer to help motivate them, and a steersman. Some teams come together as friends and community members; others are from corporations who want to foster team spirit among its employees. The long, colorful boats, featuring dragon head and tail, are glorious to observe, propelled forward by the measured, powerful rowing of the men and women within.
Anyone can sign up as an individual or as a team (see website URL below) and spectators are encouraged. There is no charge to show up, set up a lawn chair and watch the all-day excitement from the river bank. Food vendors, kids’ activities, a Health & Wellness Village set up by Walgreen’s, the event sponsor, and a marketplace make the Dragon Boat Races a fun event for all ages.
Proceeds from the event benefit the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center at St. Tammany Parish Hospital.
Get the details by visiting www.gwndragonboat.com/neworleans