Inaugural Shoals Dragon Boat Festival sets sail October 19

by Staff
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dragon boatFLORENCE– On Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013, the dragon boats will take over the Tennessee River as part of the first Shoals Dragon Boat Festival.


kilbyThe event has been organized by Kilby Laboratory School parent Emily Rhodes as a way to help fund the last remaining laboratory school in the state.


“We are so excited about this event,” she said. “It’s one-of-a-kind for the Shoals, and we’ve already had 20 teams of 21 individuals sign up to participate.”


With just two weeks to go before the Shoals Dragon Boat Festival, she said there’s still time for other teams to man a boat and paddle their way down the river in boats specifically designed for these races.


“We’ve hired Dynamic Dragon Boat Racing out of Knoxville, Tenn., to help us with the race, so participants will practice boats and drumspaddling their boats the week before the race and then come back Saturday to race for the win,” Rhodes said.


Dynamic Dragon Boat Racing will provide all dragon boats, drums, paddles and life jackets. Teams will provide 20 rowers and a drummer, and teams are encouraged to pick a team theme. A prize will be given to the team with the best theme.


On Saturday morning, teams will gather at McFarland Park at 9 a.m. for the Waking of the Dragon Ceremony. The ceremony, which involves painting the eyes on a dragon boat, symbolizes bringing the “dragons” to life. Teams will race in two heats in the morning with the top 12 teams racing for the final after lunch. Winners will be announced at the end of the day.


face painting“Anyone 15 years of age and older can participate, and we encourage large groups who are looking for a good team-building exercise or athletic teams or even families to sign up for the race,” Rhodes said. “We guarantee this will be like nothing you’ve ever done before.”


The Festival will include not only the races, but also food vendors and activities for the kids. Tracker will have boats set up on display and is sponsoring a giveaway for a towable boat inner tube. Admission to the festival is free of charge for spectators.


There’s still time to register your team. If you’re looking for a fun way to spend your Saturday, October 19, log on to


For details or to schedule an interview, please contact:

Michelle Rupe Eubanks at 256-606-2033 or

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