Join us for the First Annual Hamilton Dragon Boat Festival!
We are excited to bring Dragon Boat Races to Butler County for the first time - come be part of history!
Dragon boats are 40 feet long and fit a maximum of 20 paddlers, a steersperson, and a drummer. The boat is set up so that two paddlers are on each of the 10 benches - meaning that each person stays paddling on one side of the boat. The boat is decorated with a dragon head and a dragon tail to make it truly a Dragon Boat.
Dragon boating has a rich Chinese history, stemming from a Chinese court official named Qu Yuan. It is said that he lived in the pre-imperial Warring States period (475-221 BC). In 278 B.C., upon learning of the upcoming devastation of his state from invasion by a neighboring State, Qu is said to have waded into the Miluo river holding a great rock in order to commit ritual suicide as a form of protest against the corruption of the era.
The common people, upon learning of his suicide, rushed out on the water in their fishing boats to the middle of the river and tried desperately to save Qu Yuan. They beat drums and splashed the water with their paddles in order to keep the fish and evil spirits from his body. In commemoration of Qu Yuan, people hold dragon boat races annually on the day of his death, a national holiday in China.
Dragon boat races are community events, and bring attention and support to key causes and charities. For 2016, the event is supporting the Sports Medicine Division at Cincinnati Children's Hospital AND the Boathouse Development Capital Campaign for the Great Miami Rowing Center.
Participants, ages 12 - 80, will get to race a maximum of three times throughout the day, with each race being a buoyed 500 meter course. Races take anywhere from 2:00 - 3:00 minutes to finish depending on their boat speed.