Dragon Boat Racing Sweeps Marathon in May

Events — By Julie on February 21, 2011 at 3:34 pm

Clear, warm waters off Sombrero Beach transform into a swift racecourse for the Battle in the Bay Dragon Boat Festival set for Saturday, May 14. 

Marathon’s Sombrero Beach offers spectators a pristine setting and a unique direct-from-the-beach launch for the sleek, 40-foot-long race boats whose elaborate designs originated in ancient China.

Dragon boat racing, one of the world’s fastest-growing water sports, involves 20 paddlers moving in unison — a combination of strength and teamwork attracting men and women of all ages and abilities with a competitive spirit and the ability to work together.

The legend of dragon boat racing can be traced back to the fourth century B.C. and the Ch’u dynasty in China. The emperor’s personal advisor, Qu Yuan, drowned himself in the Mi Lo River in defiance of the ruler’s corrupt and indulgent lifestyle. Local fishermen, in an effort to keep the river’s water dragons and fish from consuming Qu Yuan’s earthly body, beat drums and vigorously splashed the water with their paddles.

The modern dragon boat race is a re-enactment of these fishermen in the race to save their martyr Qu Yuan from the creatures of the deep. The dragons are a strong and powerful symbol of spring rains and growth in Chinese culture.

Get a team together, raise some money for a great cause … you pick your charity!   Visit www.battleinthebay.org to learn about one of the world’s fastest growing watersports – and right here in the Florida Keys

Tags: festivals, Florida Keys, florida keys events, Marathon, marathon events

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