Long Beach Dragon Boat Festival: Colorful Races Return to Marine Stadium July 28-29
2012-07-19 · By Barbara Holbrook
The Annual Long Beach Dragon Boat Festival – featuring 60 teams from around the world – will churn up the waters of Marine Stadium in Long Beach Saturday and Sunday, July 28-29, 2012.
Each entry features 14-18 paddlers, accompanied by a drummer and a steer-person, in brightly-decorated canoes with dragon heads and tails. The colorful boats race through the water while on-board drummers set the pace with the rhythm their traditional drums.
Races take place from 9 a.m. to approximately 5 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday. Download a race schedule here. Races are 500 meters long; sprint racers paddle a 250-meter course.
Largest Dragon boat Festival in California
The Long Beach Dragon Boat Festival is one of the largest dragon boat competitions in California. The weekend event also showcases entertainment from Chinese traditional art demonstrations, Chinese Acrobats, traditional dance, hip hop, music and martial arts performances.
The two-day festival promotes cultural understanding and international sportsmanship. Visitors can browse the colorful displays, educational booths or take a break to sample ethnic cuisine.
The Dragon Boat Festival commemorates the life of ancient poet/patriot Qu Yuan (340-278 BC) during the warring states period of China. Even before Qu Yuan, in ancient China, the hot, humid weather of summer was a time of pestilence and disease. To ward off illness, people attached bundles of artemisia and calamus to their homes, and posted pictures of the demon catcher Zhong Kue. The people considered themselves to be the descendants of dragons and so during the fifth moon, they feel it is appropriate to paddle boats with dragon designs and make sacrifices of zhonzi to cajole the river dragons.
Admission to the Long Beach Dragon Boat Races is free, but visitors may want to bring money for the festival and booths. For information about the festival, visit www.lbdragonboat.com, or call (562) 434-2366.
Marine Stadium, is located at 5225 East Paoli Way, just off of Appian Way, past the bridge, between Second Street and Colorado. There are several parking lots available. Visit the dragon boat website for a map of public parking lots.
The Long Beach Dragon Boat Festival is part of the City of Long Beach Sea Festival. Founded in 1997, the festival is just one of several marquee events hosted by the International Culture Exchange Association.