Exciting races featured at Dragon Boat & Asian Festival
By Frances Taylor - Staff Writer
East Hartford - posted Wed., Aug. 24, 2011
Sixty-eight dragon boat teams took to the Connecticut River for fun and competitive races during the 11th annual Dragon Boat and Asian Festival, which was held at Mortensen Plaza on Aug. 20 and 21.
The teams ranged from community and civic organizations who raced for fun and glory, to world-class racers who competed for prizes worth up to $10,000.
“Dragon boat racing is a 2,000-year-old sport that has gone world-wide,” said Charlie Myers, pre-event coordinator for Riverfront Recapture, which sponsored the event. “We have teams that have won gold medals in world championships that are here today.”
The boats each hold 20 paddlers, one drummer and one person who steers the boat. The drummer beats a cadence and the paddlers keep the rhythm as they row the boat.
The sport is easy to learn and great way to meet people, Myers said. “There's a saying that when you join a dragon boat team, you find friends for life,” Myers added.
Local teams included Mass Mutual, Aetna Soaring Dragons and Greater Hartford Jaycees Black Dragons. “There are 68 groups participating this year, and it’s been tremendous fun,” said Noel Roman, a member of the Greater Hartford Jaycees. “This is a real public-private partnership, with everyone working together.”