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    The Louisville Dragon Boat Festival (LDBF) had such a good reception last year that they’re bringing it back for a second round next Saturday, September 12th! The races will take place from 9am to 5pm on the Waterfront near Joe’s Crab Shack and the Great Lawn. The boats will be competing in heats throughout the day, with finals starting around 3-3:30pm. Each race is 300 meters, and each team will have the chance to race three times in their appropriate divisions.

    Louisville Third Century, a local non profit organization that helps promote other organizations, is in charge of putting on the Dragon Boat Festival. The idea behind this festival came from Mayor Fischer’s simple suggestion to “use the river.”  Louisville Third Century took his suggestion and decided on dragon boat racing; everyone loved it! Chris Burkhammer and Casey Miles, Coaches of LDBF, and Erin Kellehen, Organizer of LDBF, have been working hard all summer to hold open practices and teach anyone interested the basics of dragon boat racing. Kellehen emphasized that this is a new sport for everyone, so all are encouraged to come out and give it a try!

    The festival is free to the public to come and watch, and for those who want to participate, they may donate or raise the $50 registration fee. Teams can be formed with up to 25 people; there will only be 20 people in the boat with five that can be switched in and out. Each team can pick an organization that they would like to raise money for through registration fees and/ or donations. In addition to the 20 paddlers, each team will designate a drummer to keep the rhythm and will have one steerer. All of the steerers as well as the race boats are coming in from the Pan Am Dragon Boat Company in Tampa, FL.

    As the races are taking place on the river, there will plenty of other activities to really make this into a festival. There will be various performances, highlighting different Asian cultures, from the Confucius Institute at Western Kentucky University as well as artifacts and cultural activities, such as learning Chinese calligraphy and zodiac games. There will be food trucks present bringing tastes from the West and the East to keep the racers and spectators satisfied and energized. Additionally, if you’re worried about driving and finding a spot downtown, there’s no need because Uber has partnered with the festival to give everyone $20 credit towards their ride; $5 per ride will go towards Louisville Third Century.

    At the end of the day, there will be trophy and medal presentations for the winners as well as for fun “best of…” awards. A portion of the money raised from this event will go towards the costs of hosting it, and the remainder of the money will go to each charity or organization that the teams raced for! Registration is now closed for teams, but donations are still being accepted at this site. More information on the festivities that will be taking place thoughout the day can be found here.


    Photos by Irena Tran and Courtesy of LDBF’s Facebook Page

    Irena Tran's picture

    About Irena Tran

    I studied Art at UofL and now physical therapy at Bellarmine University. I love art, sports, and good food. I'm always looking for something new to try and new concepts to photograph!

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