The three Rotary clubs of Oak Ridge are combining forces to launch the inaugural Oak Ridge Dragon Boat Festival, to be held Saturday, May 31, at the Oak Ridge Marina and Pavilion in Melton Lake Park.
“The purpose of the festival is to provide a venue for dragon boat races, offer food and musical entertainment and raise funds for nonprofit service organizations in the community,” said Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson, president of the Rotary Club of Oak Ridge.
The boat-racing event will celebrate Oak Ridge’s waterfront and signature rowing venue. The other two clubs are the Oak Ridge Breakfast Rotary and Oak Ridge Sunset Rotary clubs.
A dragon boat is a long, low boat adorned with a snarling dragonhead at the boat’s front end, as in the Chinese tradition. Dragon boat races have become popular events in many U.S. cities, ranging in size from Philadelphia to Knoxville.
This all-day Dragon Boat Festival race will be an entertaining competition among teams of 20 persons each—18 paddlers, a caller, and a steerer. The teams will come from community employers and organizations, some of which are signing up to become corporate sponsors of the event.
The goal is to turn this inaugural boat race into an annual fundraising festival that will build up the Oak Ridge Rotary Community Fund, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, and meet needs in the Oak Ridge community in educational, children’s, and health programs.
Dynamic Dragon Boat Racing LLC of Knoxville has been hired to operate the races safely and provide the dragon boats, other equipment, and training.
Event sponsorship levels are $1,000, $2,500 and $5,000. The entry fee for one dragon boat team is $750.
The organizing committee includes members of all three Rotary clubs, and the leaders are Jim Sumner, Keith Kahl, and Leslie England. For more information, contact Leslie England at [email protected] and (865) 318-1910.
You can get more information and register a team and/or be a sponsor by visiting the Oak Ridge Dragon Boat Festival website at http://oakridge.racedragonboats.com/.