Dragon Boat Festival

September 9, 2017

Warriors’ Path State Park, Kingsport, Tenn.

The Mountain States Dragon Boat Festival is a free, all-day family event that has grown into a tradition for the Tri-Cities region.

Dragon boat racing is a graceful, competitive sport that requires teamwork and skill. Each boat has a team of 20 paddlers – led by a drummer who sits in the front of the boat, and directed by the sweep at the rear of the boat –who use strength and coordination to race competing boats.

The Dragon Boat Festival events include:

  • All-day competitive races of up to 40 dragon boat teams, with a final championship round
  • Opening parade of dragon boat teams
  • The Food Pagoda with selections from local food truck cuisine
  • Dragon Boat Kids Race

Celebrating its 12th year, the Mountain States Dragon Boat Festival has raised more than $900,000 to support Mountain States Foundation.

There are many ways you can participate in the Dragon Boat Festival, but the most fun is to build a racing team. Here’s what you need to do:

Collect 21 dragon boat race team members (20 to paddle, one to be the drummer). Each boat must have a minimum of eight female paddlers participating in the race.

Set a fundraising goal. Each dragon boat race team member is encouraged to raise $250, for a minimum team goal of $5,250.

Register your team. You may pay online or mail your registration fee ($900 for corporate
teams; $850 for community/non-profit teams) to: Mountain States Foundation, 2335 Knob Creek Road, Suite 101, Johnson City, TN 37604

Build team spirit! Choose a team name and design a T-shirt. All teams are assigned a
20x20 green space with a 10x10 tent included. All teams are encouraged to decorate their area at the set-up party on Friday, September 8. If you would like to bring an additional tent of your own, you are allowed to provide one but it must be a 10x10 and you must set this up yourself. 

The Dragon Boat Festival tradition drawing on a traditional Chinese tradition more than 2,000 years old, dragon boat racing celebrates the strength of individuals working together as a community. It originally coincided with the summer rice planting, and is rich with ceremonial and cultural traditions. In ancient culture, the mythical dragon was considered the “ruler of the waters on earth,” and a symbol of strength and vitality.

Often celebrated in Western culture as a part of a dragon boat festival, dragon boat racing is now an international sport requiring skill and water craftsmanship. The popularity of dragon boat racing (both the sport and festival) is growing quickly around the world. The event encourages camaraderie and fun, and celebrates the strength of a committed group of community members.