World Dragon Boat Teams Competing In Hartford Races
By Andy Hart
August 16, 2012
Competition is heating up with the arrival of some world champion paddlers at Riverfront Recapture’s 12th Annual Riverfront Dragon Boat and Asian Festival on Saturday and Sunday, August 18 and 19, on the Hartford Riverfront.
This year’s Club Division racing on Sunday will include several teams that recently competed in the World Championships in Hong Kong this past July including DCH Racing out of Flushing, NY, Women in Canoe out of New York, NY, and gold medal winner Dragonheart Vermont, from Burlington, VT.
The Riverfront Dragon Boat and Asian Festival, at downtown Hartford’s Mortensen Riverfront Plaza, will feature Asian music, dance, cultural activities, food, and beverages on both Saturday and Sunday.
Sixty-nine community and club teams will bring more than 1,800 paddlers to the colorful races on the Connecticut River. A dragon boat team consists of 20 paddlers, a drummer who sets cadence for the team, and a steersperson.
Forty-six teams from the local corporate and nonprofit communities will compete on Saturday. Twenty-three club teams from New York, Florida, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont will compete on Sunday.
The number of participating teams representing local corporations and nonprofit groups increased this year. “Dragon boating is taking hold on the Riverfront – and it’s an activity that some of our teams are doing all summer,” says Charles Myers, Riverfront Recapture’s Director of Programs & Events.
“Several organizations are fielding multiple teams this year – a clear sign that dragon boating is becoming part of their culture,” he adds. He points out that the Presenting Sponsor, Aetna, has six teams, while organizations as diverse as The City of Hartford, Mass Mutual, The Hartford, The Glastonbury Chamber of Commerce, Hartford Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs, and Pratt & Whitney are each entering two teams.
New this year, the City of Hartford led by Mayor Segarra and The Town of East Hartford led by Mayor Leclerc will compete is a special Mayor’s Race at 11:00 am on Saturday.
Dragon boating is a 2000-year-old Chinese tradition that is growing in America and thriving in other parts of the world. As the sport’s popularity grows, groups form clubs to compete in races in their own areas – and travel to out-of-state destinations like the Hartford Riverfront.
The Riverfront Dragon Boat races are sanctioned by the Eastern Regional Dragon Boat Association, giving teams with the highest points in their divisions the opportunity to represent the USA’s Eastern Region at regional championships.