The 2,000-year-old tradition was first used in ancient China to satisfy the rain gods. In dragon boat races, a 40-foot long boat adorned with ornate carvings of the dragon’s head and tail holds twenty paddlers as they move in unison to the beat of their team drummer. When, as a protest against political corruption, the warrior poet Qu Yuan committed suicide in the Mi Lo river, races were organized in his memory. Dragon boat racing soon began to be a representation of patriotism and group integrity.
Dragon boat races were, and are today, quite a vibrant and colorful scene. Not only are strength, endurance and skill necessary, but teamwork and a joint purpose are essential. Fast forward to 2009 in Madison County, Mississippi, where the Dragon Boat Regatta brought to life the ancient Chinese tradition on the Ross Barnett Reservoir.
Now in its seventh year, the Dragon Boat Regatta will be presented by the Madison County Chamber of Commerce on May 16th at Old Trace Park in Ridgeland, Mississippi. This event continues to grow, having started out with 30 teams and grown to over 50. No prior experience is required to compete.
This matchless boating experience is a great opportunity for groups, teams and co-workers. Individuals come together for a fun day that in turn improves communication and boosts morale. “We are proud to bring the only event of its kind to Madison County,” says Paige Petersen, Executive Director of the Madison County Chamber of Commerce. “It is favorable both for the community and businesses of Madison County and the metro Jackson area. We are expanding in 2015 by bringing a few out-of-state teams to our Regatta. It’s a huge opportunity not only for the metro area, but also the region.”
Weeklong festivities conclude on race day, when teams of 20 paddlers and one drummer race head to head in 40-foot long boats. The event is family friendly with food and a free Kids Zone.
For more information on attending or registering to participate, call 601.605.2554.