What is Dragon Boat Racing?
Dragon Boating is a unique kind of boat racing. A dragon boat team consists of 20 paddlers sitting two abreast,
a cox who steers the dragon boat (the steerer) from the rear and a drummer who sits at the front. The boat
itself is 46 feet long and will go as fast as you can paddle! The 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.
What are the origins of Dragon Boat Racing?
Dragon boating began in China more than 2,000 years ago, originating from superstitious beliefs that the 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.
Accordingly, dragon boating has come to symbolize both humankind’s struggle against nature and the fight
against dangerous enemies.
How does the festival benefit our community?
Bringing the Dragon Boat Festival and Racing to the Fort Walton Beach area will draw additional people from the
surrounding area to come and watch the event. It will draw those who have never witnessed such an event and
even those who have, as it is a fun day filled with all kinds of activities.
The event will be a major fundraising event for Bring Hope Now, Inc/Hope Squad (the Suicide Prevention
partner of United for a Good Cause, Inc.)which is “the most successful” peer-to-peer anti bullying and suicide
prevention program in existence today and is now in all the district schools in Okaloosa County, secondary
schools in Santa Rosa County with elementary starting this year and we are in the process of setting up schools
in Escambia, Walton and Bay counties in NW Florida.
In addition to placing this program in the school systems in Northwest Florida, Bring Hope Now, Inc. established
the first ever active-duty Hope Squad in the 33rd Wing at Eglin AFB. By participating in the event, you will have
exposure to many local and visiting businesses and teams. You will be supporting a highly acclaimed and successful
local charity that services the children and military in our community.
The various racing divisions will bring more exposure to our way of life. The military will be challenged against
one another along with the cities competing for the Mayor’s Cup race victory. We will even have some youth
teams competing. The entire weekend will be a family affair and full of fun for everyone, regardless of whether
you are racing or coming out to share in the excitement.
The Dragon Boat Festival and Races will become Bring Hope Now, Inc./Hope Squad’s major annual event. We
encourage all our business community to stand beside us to bring awareness to others that we protect and save
our children & families as well as our military who give us the right to have such an event in our backyard.