Record number of teams to participate in Dragon Boat Festival on High Rock Lake
A record number of 28 teams registered to participate in the fifth annual Rowan Chamber Dragon Boat Festival, to be held July 28 on High Rock Lake.
The festival will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Shrine Club, 6480 Long Ferry Road.
Title sponsors are Hotwire Communications, Novant Health Rowan Medical Center and Trinity Senior Services of Rowan.
“The highest number of teams in the past was 25 in 2017,” said Elaine Spalding, chamber president.
The Dragon Boat Festival is the largest annual event held on High Rock Lake, the second-largest lake in North Carolina. A parklike atmosphere and viewing is free for spectators, where more than 3,500 people are expected to watch the 28 teams compete.
Besides the competition of the colorful Dragon Boat races, food vendors will be joined by Cheerwine soft drink company, as well as Salisbury-based breweries and vineyards. Entertainment will be featured during the lunch break, with a drummers parade and raffle.
Spectators are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets to make the day a fun lakeside party. No pets, coolers or outside food will be allowed. Parking is by donation and available in adjacent lots to the Shrine Club.
Spectators also can come by boat on High Rock Lake.
The Rowan Tourism Authority will provide trolley rides to and from the parking areas on the Shrine Club property.
“The Rowan Chamber is passionate about health and wellness,” said Teresa Dakins of Trinity at Home, chairwoman of the Dragon Boat Festival committee. “Strong team-building coupled with hosting an event of this magnitude that brings together family fun and competition, all on High Rock Lake, our natural resource here in Rowan County, is a win-win for the community.”
PanAm Dragon Boat has been contracted to oversee the competition and provide each team with the necessary equipment, including a boat, paddles and life vests. Teams will learn how to paddle during a practice session.
Each team will provide 20 paddlers, at least eight of whom must be female, and a drummer. On race day, each team will compete in three heats on a 350-meter straight course.
Dragon boat racing is a more than 2,300-year-old tradition from ancient China with 45-foot sleek boats decorated with dragon heads, tails and scales. The boats seat 20 paddlers each. Colorful drummers sit in the bow pounding the drum to the beat of the paddlers’ stroke, and a steer person stands in the stern guiding the team down the race course.
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