The Dragons are Coming!


The Blackstone Valley Tourism Council announced today that Dragon Boat racing is returning to Pawtucket on Saturday, August 31.  It all takes place at Festival Pier, on the Pawtucket River, across the river from the new RIFC Tidewater Soccer Stadium. This year will be the 23rd year for the races and if you have not seen them in person, it's a must for every Rhode Islander.  Teams travel from all over the Northeast to paddle in Pawtucket because this city hosts the only Dragon Boat Race on the East Coast that includes catching the elusive red flag, during the 1,000 meter paddle to the finish line.  This adds excitement and a touch of drama to each race.  It's impossible not to have fun at this event. 


This one-day event is free to the viewing public.  It hosts a Dumpling Eating contest, which is one of the only eating competitions that Joey Chestnut has not joined!  The person that eats the most Chinese dumplings wins round trip air flights to Taipei, Taiwan.


Local organizations form ad-hoc teams and love this day.  They make it their riverfront "tailgate party" of the year.  Everyone shows up to cheer them on.  No need to be a professional paddler.  In fact, your friends will have more fun if they are not professional paddlers.  Many teams organize to have fun and represent their business, neighborhood and union.  Beer prizes and cash prizes are prevalent.  The Pawtucket Police are always the first to sign up and they love to challenge others to do the same.


Chinese traditional entertainment is on the Main Stage all day long, and you'll find lots of food vendors and exhibit booths.  Last year, almost 8,000 people attended.


There is a fee to join the fun with a team.  The fun is free however. T-shirts, team building, boats, paddles and life jackets are all supplied by the organizers.  Teams have the opportunity to practice in the dragon boats all summer long.  This is a great team-building experience.  The more you practice, the more fun you have.  


Major sponsors to date are the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, EVA Air, China Air, RIFC, Bank of America, Luke Charitable Foundation, Blackstone Valley Tourism Council, Chinese Folk Art Workshop, City of Pawtucket, Pawtucket Arts Festival and Brown Physicians. 


Contact Amanda Wood at 401-724-2200 for more details or go to for more information.   




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