Texarkana get ready for the inaugural Dragon Boat Festival on Saturday, June 11, 2016 from 9AM-5PM at Bringle Lake Park to benefit Hands On Texarkana.
This spectacular event will include local and regional teams coming together to race against each other in a series of heats. Dragon boat racing is a team sport that is growing quickly worldwide. Each year, an estimated 50 million people from 40 countries participate in the sport of dragon boat racing. With a short lesson almost anyone can enjoy participating.

Twenty paddlers sit two-by-two in a 42 foot-long boat and paddle in unison with the entire team. A steersperson (provided by the festival) stands in the back guiding the boat. A drummer sits at the front and beats out the cadence of strokes to keep the paddlers in sync and motivates their team to the finish line.

Dragon boating is a great unifier. Paddlers work as a team to make the boat glide. It calls to people of all ages, genders and athletic skills. The appeal of dragon boating is truly universal because it is challenging and demonstrates teamwork at its finest. It is also lots of fun.

You're encouraged to get your team together today. Participants need to be at least 14 years of age. Individual teams or business teams are needed with a maximum of 16-20 paddlers needed for each race team. Registration deadline is May 27, 2016 or call Hands On Texarkana at 903-798-3211. Registration forms and rules available at Texarkana Dragon Boat Festival. You can also visit their Facebook page.

In addition, there will be food vendors and music to keep the event lively throughout the day for spectators in attendance. This is a major fundraiser for Hands On Texarkana. The dragon boat races is well known for boosting team morale and building team spirit.

Brief History

With a history of more than 2,500 years, the sport of dragon boating originated in ancient China. The legends include warring states, radical politics and fierce loyalty and passion written poetically by one man - Qu Yuan. This man was exiled from the land that he loved, and in turn committed suicide in the Miluo River in a final form of protest against the corruption of his era.  During an attempt to save Qu Yuan, the locals took to the river in their fishing boats, splashing their paddles to keep the water demons and evil spirits away.