Dragons in Lake Peachtree

Wed, 09/23/2009 - 9:18am
By: The Citizen

Third annual Dragon Boat Races and International Festival returns this weekend

What was once an unsual sight has now become familiar. Two years ago, Peachtree City decided to join the ranks of cities around the world and host Dragon Boat Races. People of all shapes and sizes for a team, board a boat and try to paddle the fastest in a series of heat races in the morning and head to head races in the afternoon. The shores of Lake Peachtree at Drake Field are filled with fans, friends and family members cheering the team on and taking part in the International Festival that accompanies the races. This annual event has become one of the most popular of the year and this year’s event is even more special because it ties in with Peachtree City’s 50th anniversary.

This event continues to grow in popularity, last year over 2800 spectators attended, watching 30 teams compete. This year, Rotary Club of Peachtree City event organizers expect to have over 40 teams competing in two divisions, the competitive division for experienced paddlers, and the novice division for beginners.

The festivities start at 8 a.m. Saturday with race registration. The opening ceremony is from 9-9:15 a.m. and teams will race from 9:30-11:30 a.m. There will be a recognition ceremony at 11:30 a.m. and entertainment from 12-1 p.m. Finals racing will last from 1-3 p.m. The six fastest boats will race at 3:10 p.m. There will be musical entertainment from 3:15-3:45 p.m. at the awards ceremony from 3:45-4 pm.

Dragon Boats are aaproximately 41 feet long and weight over 700 pounds. Crews of up to 20 racers sit in twos and paddle the boat like a canoe. The race is 200 meters long. Crews paddle from the shore to a spot in the lake and race back towards Drake Field and the All Children’s Playground. The races, which are put on by the Peachtree City Rotary Club, raise money to benefit Alzheimer’s research, breast cancer research, Fayette Senior Services, youth programs, clean water projects, Boy and Girl Scouts, Fayette Family YMCA, eradication of polio and more.

The International Festival held in conjunction with the Dragon Boat Races is designed to raise awareness of cultural diversity and to increase interest in international commerce through the interactions between our community, businesses and the arts.  Food vendors in colorfully decorated tents will be offering delectable treats.  The flavor of wonderful food complimented by spotlights of entertainment will provide a day filled with something for the entire family .The International Festival will feature a variety of world cuisines, as well as dancing and entertainment from countires such as Greece, Ireland and China. There will be vintage mustangs on display, origami demonstrations, as well as a children’s bounce structure.

The Peachtree City Rotary Club Dragon Boat Races and International Festival is a green event. Due to limited parking in the immediate area only golf carts will be parked in the lots and grounds around the City Hall/Library complex. The only car parking will be in the area around the First Baptist Church (just west of City Hall) and Pebblepocket Park. Since Willowbend will be closed to all vehicular traffic from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., all cars will need to approach the First Baptist Church from either North Lake or Hippocket. Shuttle bus services will begin at 9:30 a.m. from McIntosh High School and end at 4 p.m.

If you’d like to follow the races but can’t make it out to the lake, visit www.peachtreecitydragonboats.org and look for the link to race day results.

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