Dragon Boatr

Photo by The Paducah Sun

The dragons are coming back to Paducah's riverfront. The River Discovery Center in Paducah will host the eighth annual Paducah Dragon Boat Festival on Paducah's riverfront on Saturday. Proceeds from the event go toward the educational programs of the center.

The races will begin promptly at 10 a.m. and will run until approximately 2 p.m. with a 30-minute lunch break. Races run in heats of three, with the colorful dragon boats filled with 16 paddlers and a creatively dressed drummer. Each team races a minimum of two times and the racecourse is 250 meters. Boats race against the current.

Dragon boat racing is a sport where men and women compete together in an unbiased and fun environment. This sport, has become an extremely popular team building activity for community organizations and corporations. The dragon boats are 40-foot long, canoe-like boats with colorful dragonheads and tails.

Trophies will be awarded to the top three teams and each paddler on the top teams will receive a medal. Additional awards will be for Best Dressed Drummer, Most Team Spirit, Best Team T-Shirt and Best Team Area. There will also be a special awards category will be the People's Choice award where spectators and team supporters can vote for their favorite team.

There will be food and drink vendors on hand all day. A children's area is available for the young kids including inflatables, face painting, balloon animals and more.

Entrance to the festival is free of charge. Tuesday through Thursday, there will be practice sessions for all teams from 4-7 p.m. at the riverfront. The public is free to come to the riverfront and watch those sessions.

22Dragons, from Montreal Canada, provide dragon boats, professional steersmen and equipment for the event.

Individuals can visit the River Discovery Center at 117 South Water St. in downtown Paducah, or go to the website at www.riverdiscoverycenter.org for more details about the center and the Dragon Boat Festival.

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