The Chicago Chinatown Chamber of Commerce will host its 18th Annual Dragon Boat Race for Literacy on June 23, 2018 at Ping Tom Memorial Park in Chinatown. The Chinese dragon boat race dates back to over 2,000 years and is a popular sport among Chinese and Asian communities all over the world. Over 10,000 visitors are expected to attend this annual event.

Thirty-two dragon boat race teams will compete on the south branch of the Chicago River in beautifully decorated dragon boats, each consisting of up to 20 members: 18 paddlers, 1 drummer and 1 flag catcher. The 18 paddlers row to the beat of the drummer, while the flag catcher of each team pulls a flag positioned in the water at the finish line. Races begin at 8 am. The Opening Ceremony begins at 9 am.

In addition to the exciting races, guests can enjoy riding a free Chinatown Trolley which will travel from the park and loop around Chinatown during the event from 9 am – 4 pm. There will also be children’s activities, vendor booths and entertainment programming throughout the day including beautiful Chinese dancers, exciting performances by the Hōkūleʻa Academy of Polynesian Arts, music and more! Check this page frequently for updates.

Sign up to be a sponsor of the Chicago Dragon Boat Race for Literacy. Each year, the Chicago Chinatown Chamber of Commerce donates a portion of its proceeds from the event to local schools and organizations of which nine were recipients in 2017. A limited number of vendor booths are also available at the event. For more information and to sign up as a sponsor or vendor, visit 2018 Sponsorship & Exhibitor Booth Application Form.

Dragon boat team applications are now being accepted. Completed applications with full payment will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis. Due to increased interest, we anticipate the 32 team spots will be filled quickly. For more information and to sign up for a dragon boat team, click the Team Application Form.

The winners of the 2017 Boat Race for Literacy were: 1st Place – United Sky Dragons, 2nd Place – Chicago Blades, and 3rd Place – HSBC Red Dragons. Learn more about the 2017 Dragon Boat Race for Literacy at

More Info (External Link)
August 22, 2020

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