Getting ready for Rose Festival – Dragon Boat style

Perhaps you have seen them practicing on the Willamette river in the cold and the rain. I am talking about the dragon boat teams that are gearing up for competition in Portland as part of the Rose Festival. There will be 80 teams taking part – some local, some from around the country and some international teams. Heats are composed of 4 teams at a time and they set off every 9 minutes. To get in on the action, go to Waterfront Park, by the Hawthorn Bridge. They race on June 11th and 12th from 8am until 4pm.

The boats used rely on another bond Portland has with China. In this case with Kaohsiung. Please be sure to give them a good cheer when they appear in the Parade.

These boats are Taiwan-style dragon boats and a friend who participates in these races tells me that these are very heavy boats. Each boat is crewed by 16 paddlers, 1 tiller, 1 caller, and 1 flag catcher. According to Wikipedia, Portland is North America’s largest Taiwanese-style boat racing event.

Incidentally, if the flag catcher fails to grab the flag, the team loses. No pressure, but I love the look on some of their faces which asks – did he get it?

Brought to you by Brian Bailey

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