The second annual Oak Ridge Dragon Boat Festival this weekend will include dragon boat races, music, vendors, a youth area for kids, and a beer garden.
The Oak Ridge Marina boat ramp will be closed on Friday, May 29, and Saturday, May 30, for the festival, organizers said. They expect increased traffic congestion on Melton Lake Drive this weekend. Organizers are encouraging those who attend to park at Roane State Community College on Briarcliff Avenue and catch a ride in a bus or van to the waterfront.
Thirty or or more teams of 20 paddlers each are expected in Oak Ridge for the 2015 Dragon Boat Festival.
The festival, which will raise money for local charities, will start on Friday evening, May 29, with a “Lanterns on the Lake” ceremony, music, beer garden, and other festivities.
All are welcome. Admission for spectators is free. If you would like to learn more or enter the event, visit http://oakridge.racedragonboats.com/.
Here is previous information about the festival:
(From May 13) Bash on May 29 launches Oak Ridge Dragon Boat Festival
By Carolyn Krause
The Oak Ridge Dragon Boat Festival will kick off with the Dragon Boat Beer Garden Bash on Friday, May 29, from 6 to 9 p.m., followed by a full day of boat racing May 30 on Oak Ridge’s signature rowing venue at Melton Lake Park.
The bash will include live music, beer garden, food trucks, and a “lighting of lanterns” ceremony, in which each dragon boat team attending will release a glowing lantern to float upon the lake. The illuminated Chinese lanterns are floated for good luck during race day.
The Ridge City Rambler Band will perform, as will the Smokin’ Hoglegs band. Dragon boat team members will participate in three contests between band performances to earn points toward the Overall Spirit Award. There will be tricycle races, a hula hoop competition, and races in which dragon boat paddles are used to push beach balls toward the finish line.
The festival is in its second year, and it’s organized and sponsored by the three Rotary clubs of Oak Ridge. Last year, more than 5,000 people attended the fundraiser for local charities.
The team to beat is from Charlotte, North Carolina. The defending champion is returning to race this year. Another team from Charlotte is also coming.
So far, 32 dragon boat teams have registered. Each team should have 20 paddlers 15 years or older, eight of whom are females. Each team should have a drummer to ensure that the paddlers are propelling the boat in synchrony.
The costumed drummers will participate in a Drummers’ Parade late Saturday morning after the first round of races, which start at 9:30 a.m. The judges of the drummers’ costumes will include Thom Mason, honorary grand marshal for the festival and director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Lori Tucker, co-anchor of the evening news on WATE-TV, and a “surprise superstar.”
Other judges will be Oak Ridge City Council member Kelly Callison, Oak Ridge Fire Chief Darryl Kerley, Jerry Wear (district governor of Rotary District 6780), Fred Heitman (district governor nominee for 2016-17), and Claire DiFazio (Rotary youth exchange student from France, who attends Oak Ridge High School).
The event will start at 9 a.m. with the “awakening of the dragon” ceremony. The races will run from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., followed by the Drummer’s Parade. More races will be held from noon to about 3:30 p.m. There will be a variety of awards given then. On the peninsula, 18 vendors will be present, including some that sell food and beverages.
Dynamic Dragon Boat Racing LLC will provide boats, paddles, and a trained person to steer each boat. To register a team, sponsor a team, or sponsor the festival, visit Dynamic’s website at http://oakridge.racedragonboats.com/ and click on REGISTER, as well as the festival’s Facebook page for the latest news.
The boat paddlers and drummer can practice with Dynamic personnel on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, the day before the May 30 races and other festival activities, including a beer garden, food and drink vendors, and a Kids’ Play Area, which will have a bounce house, martial arts lessons, a clown, and Elaine Graham, who will create animal balloons for the children.
Galbraith Laboratories of Knoxville is supporting the Kids’ Play Area and two boat teams.
Sponsors of the festival so far are Akins Public Strategies, ORNL Federal Credit Union, Enrichment Federal Credit Union, Roane State Community College, Imprint Impressions, and Barge, Waggoner, Sumner and Cannon Inc.
The 32 dragon boat teams that have registered so far are from the Charlotte Dragon Boat Association, Healing Dragons of Charlotte, Chattanooga Dragon Boat Club, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, ORNL Federal Credit Union, CNS/Y-12 National Security Complex, Roane State Community College, Oak Ridge Preschool, Oak Ridge Schools, Jefferson Middle School, Robertsville Middle School, Oak Ridge High School, Glenwood Elementary School, Linden Elementary School, Woodland Elementary School, Galbraith Laboratories, Parkway Cardiology, Techmer PM, Oak Ridge Breakfast Rotary Club, Rotary Club of Oak Ridge, Information International Associates, Methodist Medical Center, Tennessee Orthopedic Clinic, Maxed Out Gym, Edward Jones, TNBank, and UCOR.
The funds will support literacy projects, a science fair, musical organizations, and local nonprofit service organizations such as Second Harvest Food Bank, Free Medical Clinic, Boys and Girls Club, Girls Inc. of Oak Ridge, and Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge.
(From May 13) Dragon boat races Saturday: What you need to know before you go
(From March 4) Mason will be grand marshal at OR Dragon Boat Festival
By Carolyn Krause
The second Oak Ridge Dragon Boat Race Festival, which will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, is free to all spectators. It will be held on the peninsula at the Oak Ridge Marina, but officials say it’s unsafe to park along Melton Lake Drive.
Instead, you are encouraged to park at Roane State Community College, Oak Ridge Campus, at 701 Briarcliff Avenue. You can access the large student parking lot off Laboratory Road, next to RSCC’s new Goff Health Sciences and Technology Building, and catch a ride in a bus or van to the waterfront.
Starting at 9 a.m., there will be a ceremony to “awaken the dragon.” At 9:30 a.m., at least 32 dragon boat teams, including two from Charlotte, N.C., and one from Chattanooga, will race at least twice, with the winners of two rounds racing in the third round for a chance to win the championship.
The festival offers food and beverage vendors, beer garden, martial arts demonstrations, and awards ceremonies for costumed winners of the morning Drummers Parade and the race winners in different categories of dragon boat teams.
The Kids’ Play Area on the peninsula will feature bounce houses, Elaine Graham twisting long balloons into animal forms, a clown, and martial arts lessons.
Dynamic Dragon Boat Racing LLC of Knoxville, which has successfully managed races in Alabama, Arkansas, Montana, and Tennessee, will direct the races. The company is providing the dragon boats, paddlers, life vests, training, and practice sessions, which are under way this week. Staff from the company will steer each boat and guide the practice sessions.
Seven judges will determine the winners of the Drummers’ Parade, featuring the drummers for each team who will be wearing amazing costumes.
The festival kickoff event, on Friday, May 29, from 6 to 9 p.m., will be the Dragon Boat Beer Garden Bash. The bash will include live music, food trucks, beer garden, team competitions (tricycle race, hula hoop competition, races in which dragon boat paddles are used to push beach balls toward the finish line) and a “lighting of lantern” ceremony in which each dragon boat team attending will release a glowing lantern to float upon the lake. The illuminated Chinese lanterns are floated for good luck during race day.
There will be 18 vendors, including a few that will sell food and beverages.
A dragon boat is a 46-foot-long, Hong Kong-style 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 and San Francisco to Knoxville.
The fundraising festival will help build up the Oak Ridge Rotary Community Fund to meet needs in the Oak Ridge community in educational, children’s and health programs.
The annual festival was launched a year ago by the three Rotary clubs in Oak Ridge.
An estimated 5,000 people attended the all-day event last year. Thirty teams competed in dragon boat races. A team from Charlotte, North Carolina, captured the most wins, and two teams from ORNL finished in the top five.
This year, the festival will be preceded by an evening social event and beer garden on Friday, May 29, at the park to welcome the dragon boat paddlers, volunteers, and visitors from out of town.
The festival’s organizing committee is headed by Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson, immediate past president of the Rotary Club of Oak Ridge. Chairs and members of the steering committee and subcommittees are members of this club, the Breakfast Club and the Sunset Club.
“The goals of the committee are to double the number of teams in the races and bring in twice as much money for the Oak Ridge Rotary Community Fund, which is a 501(c)3,” Watson said. “The purpose of the fund is to meet needs in our community in educational, children’s, and health programs.”
A special project that the fund will support is the ongoing development by the Breakfast Rotary Club of a smart phone app to promote tourism and exploration of Oak Ridge, one of three cities that will become part of the Manhattan Project Historical National Park.
Local vendors will sell food and beverages, and there will be a parade and other special events.
Event sponsorship levels are $1,000, $2,500, and $5,000. The entry fee for one dragon boat team is $850.
“Two small businesses, two churches, or two nonprofit organizations might want to be cosponsors and register a team for only $500 each,” Watson suggested.
For more information, email Leslie England at [email protected] or call her at (865) 318-1910.
To register, visit the Oak Ridge Dragon Boat Festival website at http://oakridge.racedragonboats.com/. You can also access the Oak Ridge Dragon Boat Festival page on Facebook to see announcements and photographs.