2017 Chicago International Dragon Boat Festival


Lake Arlington Park
2201 N Windsor Dr,
Arlington Heights, IL 60004


July 29, 2017
7:00 am

Chicago International Dragon Boat Festival Returns to Lake Arlington for 6th Season

The popular Chicago International Dragon Boat Festival returns to Arlington Heights on Saturday July 29, 2017. The annual tradition brings the community together lakeside to Lake Arlington for a day of racing and festivities! If you’ve never experienced dragon boating or had the opportunity to check out the festival, it’s not something you want to miss! Here’s all you need to know about the fastest growing water sport and festival!

Q: What is dragon boating and who can participate?

A: Dragon boating is an ancient Chinese sport that dates back 2,500 years. It came to North America about 30 years ago and has been growing rapidly around the world since then. As for what it is, imagine a 40-foot long canoe with a dragon head at the front and a dragon tail at the back. A drummer sits at the front of the boat to keep 20 paddlers paddling in sync as they race down an Olympic-style course.

Q: Is it a recreational or competitive sport?

A: Like any sport, there are many that take it seriously, but most do it for fun. So much of the success of a dragon boat team is tied to how well the team works together. Thus, the sport is fantastic for team building. Most of the participation comes from local businesses, corporations, and community groups. The ease of entry into the sport is minimal. The festival provides the paddles, lifejackets, and boats, so a team of 20 just needs to show up ready to have fun and get a little wet. Most paddlers’ first time in a dragon boat is during their 1-hour practice! 

Q: What experience or skills are needed for dragon boating?

A: No experience is necessary to participate in the sport or in the event!  All shapes, sizes, ages, and skill levels are welcome. The beauty of the sport is that anyone can do it. Give a coach an hour in the boat with your team and you’ll be paddling in unison in no time!

Q: What are the physical benefits of the sport?

A: Dragon boating is fantastic for developing your core strength. With very little impact, it is great for those with bum knees! It builds strong back muscles, strengthens obliques, abdominals, and lats. There has also been a lot of research on the positive effects of the sport for breast cancer survivors. As a sport, the benefits are both physical and mental for those young and old.

Q: How long is a typical race?

A: At this event, the course is 500m long. A race this length will generally take a team 2-3 minutes to cross the finish line. Each team is guaranteed to race three times throughout the day and everyone has a chance of winning trophies and medals.

Q. What do event fees include?

A. Your event entry fee includes a 1-hour training session with a paddling coach, a team site in the Athletes’ Village on race day, and three races (qualifying, semi-final, and final race). All equipment is provided. A team registration is $1,045, which breaks out to approximately $50 per person.

Q: What can we expect on race day?

A: Participants can expect lots of action both on and off the water!  In between racing, teams can check out festival zones like the Health & Wellness Village, Ascene Chicago Cultural Village, marketplace, kids’ area, and beer tent. The event is open to the public so bring your family and friends to enjoy the festival grounds and cheer your team on!

Q: Is a team of 21 necessary or can I register as an individual?

A: The event welcomes both types of registrations! You can either put together a team yourself or you can sign up as a solo paddler, with the pay per seat option.

Q: Can a business register a team to represent their company?

A: Absolutely! The festival has a fun race dedicated with businesses in mind, called the Industry Cup Race. Teams belonging to a specific industry race against each other for bragging rights. On the flip side, a business with charitable initiatives, can use the event to fundraise for a local cause since dragon boat festivals have strong philanthropic ties! This event benefits Adaptive Adventures.

To register your team or for more event information, visit gwndragonboat.com/chicago!

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Lakhi Siap

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