Dragon Boat Festival returning for eighth year, team registration now open

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 21, 2022

From the Rowan County Chamber of Commerce:

Salisbury — The Eighth Annual Rowan Chamber Dragon Boat Festival will be held on Saturday, July 23, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at The Shrine Club on High Rock Lake (6480 Long Ferry Road in Salisbury). Team entries, corporate sponsorships and vendor opportunities are open for the event by going to the event website https://rowanchamberdragonboat.org/.

The actual dragon boat competition is the highlight of the festival, which features up to 24 teams paddling across a 300-meter course on water, each team is placed in three heat races determined by category (corporate, community/non-profit or club team) and speed. To register for this year’s event, go to Rowan Chamber Dragon Boat Team Registration.

“Having a dragon boat team each year is something of which we are proud,” said Janet Ruffin, team captain for the Oar-inginals. “This is my seventh year participating and sixth time as the team captain. I love it and look forward to the festival every year. We all take pride in representing Rowan County. Each year we are stronger, and faster than last. Our Rowan Oar-inginals are ready for July 23. Our team is comprised from all different departments which makes this activity so great. Paddling with company co-workers is an awesome way to meet other employees that you may never had met before. I usually have some sort of game that we play so that everyone interacts. Last year, I had everyone send me baby pictures and we had to guess who it was.”

The Rowan Chamber Dragon Boat Festival has traditionally been the largest annual spectator event held on High Rock Lake, the second largest lake in North Carolina. The festival includes vendors, food trucks and activities for the whole family in a park-like atmosphere.

The event is free to attend, and guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets and make it a fun lakeside party. However, no pets, coolers nor outside food will be allowed. Parking is $5 per car and available in adjacent lots to the Shrine Club. Rowan Tourism will provide trolley rides between the parking areas and the Shrine Club property. Boats are welcome to view from the main channel or can dock behind the Shrine Club to enjoy the food and festivities.

About the competition:

PanAm Dragon Boat oversees the competition and provides each team with all the necessary equipment (boat, paddles, life vests). Teams learn how to paddle during an introductory practice session. Each team has 20 paddlers (a minimum of eight must be female), and a drummer. On race day, each team will compete in three heats on a 300-meter straight course.

Dragon Boat racing is a 2,300-year-old tradition from ancient China with 45-foot sleek boats donned with dragon heads, tails and scales that seat 20 paddlers each. Colorful drummers sit 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 water racecourse.

For more information, contact the Rowan Chamber at 704-633-4221 or info@rowanchamber.com or on social media at #DragonBoatRowan.