Eighth annual Dragon Boat Festival returns to High Rock Lake on Saturday

Published 12:05 am Thursday, July 21, 2022

SALISBURY — The Rowan Chamber’s Dragon Boat Festival is all set to kick off its eighth year of fun, games, competition and festivities this weekend on High Rock Lake.

The free festival is scheduled to take place from 9 a.m. through 4 p.m. at the Shrine Club along the lake and over 3,000 spectators are expected to come out and watch or participate.

The dragon boats will include teams of 20 paddlers, with a minimum of eight required to be female, along with a drummer who is on the craft.

The competition for boats will involve multiple teams participating in three different “heats” in a 300-meter lake 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 race course.

The equipment and boats for each team participating on Saturday are provided by Pan Am Dragon Boat, a “full service dragon boat production company,” that will support rowers from the club, corporate and community classes of teams and entrants.

While registration for participants has already taken place, the spectacle promises to bring crowds from around Rowan County and beyond.

The festival schedule including the races is:

  • 8 a.m. — Spectator gates open and vendor ready for business
  • 9 a.m. — Opening ceremonies, races begin
  • noon — Lunch break with entertainment, festivities and drummer parade
      • Novant Health Corporate Cup award presentation
      • Sydney Lett, country music singer/songwriter
  • 1 p.m. — Semifinals
  • 2 p.m. — Championship
  • 3:30 p.m. — Awards ceremony

Along with the races, visitors will also be invited to check out the numerous different food trucks and vendors on-site throughout the day, including Som’s Teriyaki Chicken, Lobster Dog, The Hot Dog Shack, The Little Piggy, Mollie’s Minis, High Rock Kettlecorn, Boardwalk Baker cheesecakes, KB Deal Ice Cream and Dolce Italian Ice.

A variety of local beverages will be available for patrons as the day heats up.

“New Sarum Brewing company will feature a special craft dragon boat beer with dragon fruit and rice lager that will only be available for festival attendees, and last year they sold out before the day was over,” said Rowan Chamber President Elaine Spalding. “United Beverages will also have Miller Beer products, we’ll have Cheerwine and plenty of bottled water to keep everyone hydrated.”

Doug Rice, president and lead anchor for the Performance Racing Network and host of PRN NACAR’s weekly talk show “Fast Talk,” will be working on-site as the official dragon boat race emcee for the day.

Additional entertainment will include Livingstone College’s radio station host Mz Good Newz, Genia Woods providing music between races and rising country music star Sydney Lett, who will sing the national anthem and perform during the noon lunch break. .

The Chamber is asking visitors to bring a boxed or canned non-perishable food donation item for Rowan Helping Ministries.

“As a RHM board member, I know their food pantry is extremely low. With children out of school for the summer months, it’s important to provide food for families in need,” said dragon boat Chair Daniel Matangira,

“RHM will provide a trailer for dragon boat participants to place their donations and they will pick up the trailer after the event. There is no charge to attend the Dragon Boat Festival, so this will be considered your optional donation item to help our community.”

Parking is $5 per car as a fundraiser for the East Rowan High School Booster Club and carpooling is encouraged with parking also available in adjacent lots to the Shrine Club. Novant Health Rowan Medical Center is providing trolley rides between the parking areas and the Shrine Club property.

Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets although no pets, coolers or outside food will be allowed at this event.

For more information, contact the Rowan Chamber at 704-633-4221 or info@rowanchamber.com or follow them at #DragonBoatsRowan2022 or go to https://rowanchamberdragonboat.org/