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2012 Dragon Boat Festival in St. Tammany Parish

It may only be in its third year, but the New Orleans International Dragon Boat Festival is an event that comes highly anticipated by Southern Louisiana. Each year it continues to build on the thrilling and nature-seeking sport of boating that the southern state has a true appreciation for. The event will be held on May 12, 2012 in Madisonville at 9:00 am. The dragon boat races will be held along the Tchefuncte River in St. Tammany Parish and can be viewed from several locations such as the Amphitheater and Alexandria Museum of Art.

What is Dragon Boat Racing?
Before you can value what dragon boat racing is, you must understand the sport in detail. It may be new to North America, but it has a long tradition that stems from Asia. The sport dates back to the original games of Olympia in Greece, but it wasn’t until 1976 in Hong Kong that dragon boat racing became an international sport.

Dragon boats are essentially human-powered watercraft. The standard crew consists of 22 people, with 20 paddlers, 1 drummer at the front of the boat and 1 steerer at the rear. These are only standard numbers however, as many dragon boat series will change the length and crew size accordingly. For example, small dragon boats may only have crews of 10, while larger dragon boats could see crews of up to 50.

Major League Dragon Boat
The Major League Dragon Boat started its journey in 2009 in an attempt to bring attention to one of the most competitive and newest sports in North America: dragon boat racing. The races held in Madisonville are an attempt to race against the best as teams work their way toward a championship held at Walt Disney World Resort. There are seven steps along the way, and teams are welcome to participate in as many of the races as they’d like.

2012 Dragon Boat Festival
The 2012 dragon boat races start the season off right by heading to Madisonville first. The event will kick off with the boat races at 9:00 am and last until 4:00 pm and include food concession stands and a formal medal and trophy ceremony. There are a variety of event highlights that include a large athlete’s village, specialty and industry challenges and an exhibitor division. Even spectators can enjoy comfortable viewing areas so that they can enjoy the festival in length. Admission is free for spectators.

The Dragon Boat Festival will wrap up on May 12 and continue on through the month of October, stopping in Toronto, Chicago, New Jersey, Virginia and Florida. The course in Madisonville meets all technical requirements and can accommodate 8 x 13.5 meters lanes in depth, with each lane exceeding 3.5 meters. Teams race in 200m and 500m distances.

For more information on registering for the races and entrant fees, visit gwndragonboat.com.

Image Source: louisianadragonboatraces.com

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