Dragon Boat Festival back for third year

Published 12:05 am Tuesday, June 14, 2016

SALISBURY — The Third Annual Rowan Chamber Dragon Boat Festival will be held on Saturday, July 30, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at The Shrine Club on High Rock Lake, 6480 Long Ferry Road.

Title sponsors are Novant Health Rowan Medical Center and Trinity Oaks/Lutheran Services of the Carolinas.

“The Rowan Chamber is excited to bring this fun event back to our community for the third year,” said Ann Pressly, from Trinity Oaks and chair of the Dragon Boat Festival Committee. “It highlights our quality of life with abundant water resources, friendly people and unique team building opportunities for businesses!”

The first year, 16 teams competed; the second year, 26 teams competed and over 3,000 people attended.

The event is free to attend; however, no pets, coolers or outside food will be allowed. There will be Dragon Boat races; food vendors; Cheerwine; United Beverages/Miller Beer; and New Sarum Brewery will also have craft beer products available for sale this year. This year, space will also be available for recreation sporting equipment vendors, including boats, kayaks and paddle boards.

Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets and make it a fun lake party. Parking is free and available in adjacent lots to the Shrine Club. The Salisbury/Rowan County Convention and Visitors Bureau will provide trolley rides to and from the parking areas. Look for the signs as you come down Long Ferry Road.

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At the end of the day on Saturday, Olympic-style gold, silver and bronze medals will be presented in the top three divisions and gold in the fourth division.

Dragon Boat racing dates back to a more than 2,300-year-old tradition from ancient China. Forty-five-foot sleek boats are donned with dragon heads, tails and scales and seat 20 paddlers. A drummer sits in the bow pounding the drum to the beat of the paddlers’ stroke, and a steersperson stands in the stern guiding the team down the race course.

The chamber has contracted with High Five Dragon Boat for the third year in a row. High Five will provide each team with all the necessary equipment (boat, paddles, life vests). Teams will learn how to paddle during an introductory practice session (included in team registration fee).

Each team will provide 20 paddlers; a minimum of eight must be female, and a drummer. On race day each team will race in three heats on a 350-meter straight course. Deadline for sponsors, vendors and teams is June 24.

For more information, contact the Rowan Chamber at 704-633-4221, info@rowanchamber.com or www.rowanchamberdragonboat.com