The event is open to everyone 15 years of age or older. You don’t need to be a “seasoned” paddler to participate and enjoy this unique experience, as you will learn the basic techniques during the free practice sessions. We do encourage each organization to field its own team and we will do our best to match up unaffiliated individual participants to a team.
A full Dragon Boat crew consists of 20 paddlers and one drummer. We will provide the steerer. Each team must have at least 8 female paddlers and should also consider 1–2 alternates.
The team registration fee is $750 for corporate teams and $650 for non-profits (non-profits require a valid 501(c)3 certificate) if fee is paid in full by April 16, 2012. For registrations after April 16, 2012, the fee is $850 and $750 respectively.
The Charlotte Dragon Boat Festival is rooted in the history of ancient China. Dragon boat racing is one of the earliest known forms of boat racing and is celebrated at festivals and races throughout the world. This mythical celebration is a symbol of Chinese culture and spirit. The roots of dragon boat racing go back over 2,000 years to the southern provinces of China. Legend has it that Qu Yuan, a scholar and advisor to the emperor of the Chu Kingdom, jumped into the Mei Lo (Mi Luo) River in despair and protest against government corruption. Local fishermen raced out in their boats to save him. They beat drums and pounded their paddles on the river's waters and threw rice dumplings wrapped in silk into the river to distract the water dragons and keep them from eating from Qu Yuan's body. Dragon boating evolved from the re-enactment of this legend at annual festivals.
A dragon boat is a large, canoe-like craft made from wood and fiberglass that is colorfully painted and decorated with a dragon's head on the front and a tail on the back. Size varies, but boats hold between 16 and 24 paddlers with an average of 20 paddlers. Paddlers are seated two per row and paddle continously on the same side for the duration of the race. A drummer and steersperson accompany the paddlers to motivate the crew and keep the boat on track. Paddles are wood, but carbon fiber paddles are beginning to appear. The average race course is 500 meters.