The Fourth Annual Dragon Boat Races are tomorrow

    The Dragon Boat Races in Texarkana will be held on Bringle Lake.

    This family-friendly event will include local and regional teams coming together to race against each other in a series of heats.  The event will be on May 18, 2019, with races beginning at 9:00 am and concluding at approximately 4:00 pm. Spectators are encouraged to bring their lawn chairs and blankets to enjoy the festivities. Food vendors and music will keep the event lively for all throughout the day.

    With a history of more than 2,500 years, the sport of dragon boating originated in ancient China.  The legends include warring9 states, radical politics and fierce loyalty and passion written poetically by one man - Qu Yuan. This man was exiled from the land that he loved, and in turn committed suicide in the Miluo River in a final form of protest against the corruption of his era.  During an attempt to save Qu Yuan, the locals took to the river in their fishing boats, splashing their paddles to keep the water demons and evil spirits away. Modern day dragon boating has few elements to this ancient tale remaining.  However, it has evolved into a worldwide competitive sport, bringing together millions across the globe annually.  Festivals with traditional Asian flare and culture are commonplace alongside a dragon boat race in recent years.  High level competitions have also been organized since the mid 1970s.   But the sport's growth has been most commonly found at the grassroots level.  Dragon boating has become an extremely popular vehicle for fundraising, and tool for corporate team building.  Local communities combine these two concepts to breath new life into their waterfront areas, and to stimulate their local economy.

    Teams are formed with 18-25 people from all walks of life.  Any age, size, ability and gender can learn to paddle on a dragon boat team.  20 paddlers are seated in 10 rows of 2 with a drummer sitting in the bow, facing the paddlers.  The paddler's job is to paddle in unison with the entire team. The drummer's job is to beat the drum in sync with the paddlers and to motivate their team to the finish line.  A steer person stands in the stern of the boat, guiding the boat straight down the race course with a 9 -foot oar.

    HandsOn Texarkana is about service to the community through volunteerism. For 50 years, this local organization has been inspiring, equipping and mobilizing people to take action that changes the world.

    HandsOn Texarkana puts people at the center of change and connects them to their power to make a difference by adhering to these values:

    People drive changePassion overcomes obstaclesService bridges and bondsInnovation drives resultsServant leadership transforms

    ‚ÄčTo learn more about HandsOn Texarkana, visit their website at www.handsontexarkana.org.

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