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Charleston Dragon Boat Festival May 3

  • Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Ashley River will erupt with splashing and laughter on May 3 as 67 teams compete for glory in the seventh Annual Charleston Dragon Boat Festival benefitting the cancer survivor programs of Dragon Boat Charleston.

The sport of dragon boating involves 20 paddlers sitting two per row in a 48-foot wooden boat adorned with a dragon head and tail.

The boat is powered by the grit and determination of the seated paddlers.

A “coxswain” pounds out the stroke rate on a drum mounted in the front as the boat battles to stay on course with the help of a steersperson working a long oar mounted in the stern of the boat.

This colorful ancient Chinese sport is expected to draw more than 6,000 spectators to Brittlebank Park for the daylong event which begins at 8:30 a.m.

Admission is free.

More than 1,600 paddlers will take to the water to compete. Most teams are composed of novice paddlers, but some regional cancer teams are expected to impress the crowd.

Charleston's local dragon boat team, Dragon Boat Charleston, will spend two weeks in April training the novice teams.

The funds raised by each paddler support the wellness programs for the cancer survivors who paddle with Dragon Boat Charleston.

For more information, go to www.charlestondragonboatfestival.com

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