Competitors, spectators flock to 2022 Dragon Boat Festival

Published 12:10 am Sunday, July 24, 2022

SALISBURY — Crowds from across the state came to High Rock Lake on Saturday for the Rowan Chamber’s 8th Annual Dragon Boat Festival.

Over a dozen teams competed in a number of different trial runs and qualifiers in an effort to be crowned champion.

The dragon boats, traditionally manned by 18-20 people with a drummer and a navigator, were part of the yearly festivities located at the docks along the Shrine Club at the lake.

Most boats were assigned to teams from different companies and organizations across Rowan County. In addition to the different teams and their supporters, the festival was also a way for local residents and businesses interested in getting more involved to take part in the community-centric event.

Some of those gathered around the shores of the lake were able to visit vendors that offered a chance to learn more about a variety of local services and organizations.

Food trucks offered customers everything from hot dogs to lobster rolls along with the particularly popular muscadine slushees for those who wanted a little help in cooling off.

The temperature hovered around the mid-90s for much of the afternoon but that didn’t keep visitors to the festival from enjoying activities — not just in the water but on land as well.

A “Drummer Parade,” hosted by Mz. Good Newz (aka Genia Woods), gave the drummers for each dragon boat team a chance to sport their wildest attire and show off their colorful sides as they danced around the beaches while crowds cheered them on.

Others simply decided to take a dip, wading into the water off of nearby docks and rooting the dragon boats on from close range.

While the festivities went on from 9 a.m. through much of the afternoon, the day was ultimately about more than just fun and games.

Novant presented the 2022 Health Wellness Cup to Healthcare Management Consultants of Salisbury, an award meant to honor the organization’s work in putting health first for their employees and the people they work with.

Thomas Loeblein, CEO and president, accepted the award on Saturday afternoon and said his company believes “wellness goes beyond physical wellness but also includes emotional well-being.”

The mayors from Salisbury, Spencer and East Spencer were joined by state Rep. Harry Warren and Rowan County Commission Chairman Greg Edds at the event.

Winning teams were able to celebrate all the hard work and preparation they had put into the competition and even though a passing storm prevented the final race from being completed, the victors were decided based on average race times throughout the day with F&M Bank receiving Gold for their category as a result.

The festival was also a success for other organizations around Rowan County as participants and visitors were asked to bring a boxed or canned non-perishable food donation item for Rowan Helping Ministries. Proceeds from parking went to the East Rowan High School Booster Club.