Portage Lakes State Park will be the site of a first time community event, the Portage Lakes Dragon Boat Festival, on July 13. Hosted by the Dragon Dream Team, Ohio's first all breast cancer survivor dragon boat team, the festival will be an opportunity for community teams to participate in authentic Chinese dragon boat racing.
More than 20 teams from Northeast Ohio have signed up to participate. Businesses, community groups and friends and family teams will make up the field limit of 30 teams representing more than 700 racing paddlers.
The day will begin around 8:30 a.m. with a ceremonial "Awakening of the Dragons" followed by racing and other Festival entertainment continuing until around 4 p.m.
One of the highlights of the day will be the noon "Boatloads of Hope" Celebration Ceremony. Eight dragon boats filled with paddlers will be on the water at one time. Anyone making a minimum donation to the Boatloads of Hope breast cancer outreach program of the Dragon Dream Team on the day of the Festival may have the opportunity to join the survivor teams and paddle in this ceremony.
Teams are comprised of 23 paddlers and a drummer. The cost per team is $1,000, less than $50 per person. All registered teams are guaranteed at least two races (and a possible third) and receive a 90-minute practice paddling session on the water prior to the day of the race. All equipment, including dragon boats, paddles, life vests and a professional steersperson, is provided.
Admission is free for spectators. More information about the Festival including sponsorship, team registration and volunteering can be found at portagelakesdrive.com.