The Dragon Boat Festival is coming up this August and you don’t want to miss it. The festival is held by the Edmonton Dragon Boat Festival Association on the third week of August and includes races and awards. It will take place August 14th through 16th rain or shine and will have various activities scheduled for each day.
The races are based on the traditional boat races of southern China from over 2,000 years ago in which races took places on boats adorned with dragonheads as part of a festival rite to encourage rains and good harvest. Here is a look at the story behind the festival and what to expect at this year’s event.
What is the dragon boat festival?
The festival is based on the southern Chinese tradition from over 2,000 years ago to race boats with dragonheads, part of a fertility rite, to encourage active rain and plentiful harvest. These races along with serving rice dumplings or rice cakes were an annual event held on the fifth day of the fifth month.
Edmonton has recreated this event for the region to celebrate this cultural concept and along with racing, you can take part in beer gardens, stage entertainment, vendors and exhibitors.
What to expect
The race course is 400 m long and races last between 2 and 3.5 minutes. The races may seem short but they are intense with challenges and stiff competition. The 3-day event includes the challenge races, placement races, spirit awards and medal races while guests can view the boats crossing the finish line from the beer garden by the river and enjoy exhibitors, vendors and stage entertainment.
August 15th will include the opening ceremonies featuring Taiko Drums and the Lion Dance which promotes prosperity and good luck. The national anthem is sung by the Gateway Chorus Sweet Adelines and afterwards, novice teams will start the first race in a non-competitive 250 m challenge to set the mood and unite the community. August 16th will feature semi-competitive races and August 17th features the higher competitive races and a serious atmosphere at the river.
Don’t miss the 19th Annual Edmonton Drag Boat Festival 2015 at Louise McKinney Park in Edmonton River Valley where you can enjoy boat races, food trucks, dragon boat paddling equipment and accessories and a DJ party at the end of the weekend.