The 25th Annual Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival returns to the waters of False Creek in Vancouver this week as over 200 teams competing. From Thursday, June 20th until Sunday, June 23rd everyone can enjoy the free festival and a few new events this year.
25th Anniversary Gala Fundraising Event
The Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival celebrations will begin on Thursday night (6:00pm to 10:00pm) at the 25th Anniversary Gala Fundraising Event. The Shangri-La Hotel will host an evening of fabulous food, wine from Lang Vineyards, beer from Granville Island Brewery and Twisted Tea. Tickets are $125 and are all-inclusive. Proceeds will go to the Milton K Wong Legacy Project, Kids and Youth Programs and a silent auction and balloon-pop raffle prizes will be available.
Schedule of Events
Starting at 5:00pm on Friday, the traditional blessing ceremony will take place near Creekside Community Centre. Taoist priests will “awaken the dragons” from their winter nap and invited guests will “dot the eyes” of the dragons as part of this colourful ritual. This will be followed by the 25th Anniversary Celebration with live entertainment, a BBQ, and the opening of the Granville Island Beer Garden from 6:00pm to 10:00pm.
On Saturday the races start promptly at 8:00am and the site opens for other activities at 10:00am. The World Beat Stage entertainment line-up starts at 11:00am and the Granville Island Beer Garden opens up the for the day. Races and festivities will go on until about 7:00pm.
Sunday has the same morning schedule as Saturday then at 12:00pm the Championship Races begin and welcome remarks will be made from the World Beats Stage at 1:30pm. Paddlers and volunteers can enjoy a send-off in the Granville Island Been Garden at 5:00pm.
Things to See, Do, and Taste
Check out the Sponsor’s Village on site all weekend including the Marketplace and Not-Fot-Profit info booths. Slow things down at the Global Tea Lounge, learning tips from Tea Sommeliers and grab some treats from food vendors.
Duck into the Creekside Community Centre for the Dragons Den Kids Area, CircusWest Performance Cirkids, performances from Rokky Mountain, games with the Vancouver Curling Club, and more. Roaming entertainment will include CircusWest, and The DJ Trike.
Dragon Boat Teams
On top of the free fun and festivities at this amazing cultural celebration there are the hard-working dragon boat racers themselves that make this such an exciting sporting event. Hundreds of teams will compete tirelessly in False Creek throughout the weekend including the False Creek Grandragons (with members ranging from their 50s to their 80s); the Conquering Waves (by conquering waves, they hope to conquer the stigma of mental illness); and the Eric Hamber FCRCC Eternal Dragons (the longest-standing junior team in North America).
Follow all of the Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival action and events on Facebook and Twitter. There are usually close to 100,000 people who enjoy the festival each year so be sure to leave the car at home and take the SkyTrain in (to Main Street), hop a bus, or bring your bike.