25th Annual Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013 — 11:30am PST
Comments 2

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.

Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival 2011
Photo credit: WinstonWong* on Flickr

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).

Dragonboats and Science World
Photo credit: Ruth and Dave on Flickr

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.

Current contests on Miss604.com

  • Enter here to win tickets Vancouver Opera presents La Bohème (until Jan 29)
  • Enter here to win tickets to the sold out Bobby McFerrin show at the Chan Centre (until Jan 24)
  • Enter here to win tickets to the Alpen Club's Valentine's Dance (until Jan 26)
  • Enter here to win tickets to opening night of Yoga Play (until Jan 25)
  • Enter here to win tickets to closing night of the JCC Jewish Book Festival ft. Mike Reiss (until Jan 28)
  • Enter here to win a $300 Webber Naturals prize pack from the Vancouver Wellness Show (until Jan 23)
  • View a complete list of contests »


  1. Great post, Rebecca. A note that we are still looking for a few volunteers to join us this weekend. It’s a fun gig! Interested people can register to volunteer at our website dragonboatbc.ca

    Paddles up!

  2. Sonja says:

    June 21st is Friday 🙂

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