It sure is a mouthful but North America’s largest multicultural festival is once again taking to the waters of Vancouver.
What: Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival featuring food, cooking shows, a marketplace, children’s entertainment and of course the dragon boat races.
When: Saturday, June 21, 8 am to 10:30 pm, Sunday, June 22, 8 am to 6 pm, Races start at 8 am, all other activities start at 10 am.
Where: At Concord Pacific Place, Creekside Park and the waters of False Creek.
More Info: The festival is completely FREE, there is no admission for any of the events including a free concert by Canadian rockers The Trews in the evening.
The main attraction is the Dragon Boat racing itself and this year we have 171 teams, from corporate groups to recreational clubs, who hope to paddle their way to victory. The 41ft boats have 27 paddlers, 4600 racers in total, and one lap of the course is 5kms.
The festival actually has a pretty interesting history and seeing as how this is its 20th anniversary, here are some notes from the organizers:
“Dragon boating was a demonstration sport at Expo 86 – a handful of paddlers got out in False Creek in two teak dragon boats sent over from Hong Kong. Vancouverites watched â€“ then were hooked. By 1989 a few volunteers had assembled more teams and more boats and the competition angle kicked in. They created an event – offered food from around the world, live music and great kids’ activities. Every year since weâ€™ve hosted the largest dragon boat race and multicultural festival in North America.”
Hopefully we’ll have some sun June 21st because it’s pretty much a perfect Vancouver weekend; food, entertainment, a little friendly competition between athletes, a free event, and a celebration of cultures.
Update: It was a record-breaking year for the festival [News1130]. Photos and video of the event can be found in my blog posts here and here.