Dragon Boat Festival 2008: Day One

Comments 7 by Rebecca Bollwitt

With 4600 racers and thousands of exhibitors, spectators and cheerleaders in their own right, the Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival was a happening place to be this afternoon.

Peruvian BBQ, fish and chips, and beverage vendors were alongside corporate and sponsor booths, games, swag tents and a concert stage. This free event around False Creek truly celebrates multiculturalism as well as our beautiful city.

I obviously cannot forget to mention the racers – these athletes come from all walks of life and man, can they ever paddle. With 170 teams and races starting every 12 minutes, the action is pretty mesmerizing.

There are teams with special needs members or those with mental illness, cancer survivors, organ donors, high school kids from the downtown eastside, corporate or social teams, and there’s even a team where half of the members are blind or visually impaired. Hearing those drums beating, provoking the paddlers and keeping them in time while they rush through the wake of neighbouring boats reminds you that the Dragon Boat festival not only celebrates ethnic diversity, but also triumph in sport.

Good news is that by the time you read this the festival will still be far from over. Tonight at 7:30 “doors” (and by door I mean gates) to The Trews concert will open and your best bet for this free show is to enter by Science World. Tomorrow the races continue, starting at 8:00am and going until 6:00pm – the action will be sped up as teams compete in the finals.

All photos in this post are © John Bollwitt for Miss604.com – view more in John’s Flickr stream. Thanks to the Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival for not only having John and I out there as official media, but also for linking to my blog on the special links page of their website.

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7 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. GZ ExpatSaturday, June 21st, 2008 — 7:17pm PDT

    Dragon Boat was 2 weeks ago…hmm…it must take a while for the festival to travel across the globe.

    I have to laugh…fish and chips and Peruvian BBQ??!! Wow…those are definite traditional foods of the festival. Don’t forget the elephant ears too! Traditionally, you’ll get a sticky rice dumpling with chicken stuffed in the middle of it and its all wrapped up in a leaf. It looks and sort of smells disgusting…but they are really, really good.

  2. RaulSaturday, June 21st, 2008 — 10:12pm PDT

    I thought I had dropped a comment on your blog earlier but clearly I didn’t 🙂 Nice photos and write-up! 😉

  3. LorraineMonday, June 23rd, 2008 — 11:05am PDT

    As a paddler out on the water the focus is totally on the job at hand and everything else around becomes non existant… thanks for posting such great photos as it really gives a wonderful perspective of what was happening around us! Love the video clip as it brings back the thrill of the race, sounds of paddles cutting through the water, drums banging, the rhythm of the counts being shouted… Exhilarating!!

  4. Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival Vancouver 2008 » Vancouver Blog Miss 604Monday, June 23rd, 2008 — 11:34am PDT

    […] year for the festival [News1130]. Photos and video of the event can be found in my blog posts here and […]

  5. Barbara AtkinsMonday, June 23rd, 2008 — 8:27pm PDT

    Minor correction to your article – we ‘paddle’, we do not ‘row’.

  6. john bollwitt blog » Blog Archive » Playing photographer at the Vancouver Dragon Boat Festival 2008Tuesday, July 1st, 2008 — 4:54pm PDT

    […] a week and a half ago, I had the extreme pleasure of joining Rebecca on a really cool experience of covering the Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival for the […]

  7. Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival 2009 » Vancouver Blog Miss 604 by Rebecca BollwittFriday, June 19th, 2009 — 10:32am PDT

    […] year John and I were able to fully cover the Dragon Boat Festival, from land and the water. We’ll be out of town this weekend however it’s a fantastic free event […]

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