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  • What is dragon boat racing?
    Dragon boating is the ultimate team sport. A team of paddlers work in unison to propel the boat forward from a standing start, the aim being to reach the finish line in the fastest time. A dragon boat team consists of 20 paddlers sitting two abreast in a 46-foot-long boat, a cox who steers the dragon boat from the rear and a drummer who sits at the front and marks the pace.  

  • Who can participate?
    Dragon boating provides a full body workout suitable for any - and every - body. The key to moving the boat is how well paddlers work together as a team. The team cannot paddle faster than its slowest member, and each and every paddler's strength and reach have to be balanced in the boat. 

  • What are the origins of dragon boat racing?
    Dragon boating began in China more than 2,000 years ago, originating from superstitious beliefs that boat racing would ensure prosperous and bountiful crops. The celebrations were conducted during the summer solstice, the time of the year when natural calamities such as disease and death were more prevalent. Dragon boating has come to symbolize both humankind’s struggle against nature and the fight against dangerous enemies.

  • Why is Dragon Boating so popular with breast cancer survivors?
    In 1995, a sports medicine specialist, Don McKenzie, started the first dragon boat breast cancer survivor team, “Abreast in a Boat”. This group of women took part in a medical study that showed a correlation between the repetitive upper body motion of dragon boat paddling and decreased incidence of lymphedema. Subsequent studies have also shown that being part of a team helps survivors’ physical and psychological well-being. 

  • Are there cancer survivors’ teams in Cleveland?
    Of course! The Cleveland Dragon Boat Association is a proud supporter of the Gathering Place, whose mission is to support, educate and empower individuals and families currently coping with the impact of cancer in their lives through programs and services. Proceeds from the festival allow the Association to provide paddling opportunities to The Gathering Place’s teams at no cost to them.

  • How else does this festival benefit our community?
    Dragon boating is a great team building exercise! Teams come together from a variety of backgrounds – community, non-profits, corporate – for a day of friendly competition. Visitors can experience the Cleveland area, meet paddlers from other areas of the country and enjoy a day on the water. Proceeds from the festival allow the Association to offer a low-cost paddling program to the Greater Cleveland community through the season. 

  • How can I get involved?

  • Easy... Paddles up! Register your team for the festival. Sponsorship levels, for both participants and non-participants in the website

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