Ever wanted to try dragon boat racing? Want to know what a dragon boat even is? (Think long canoe with a dragon head.) Check out the Charlevoix Dragon Boat FestivalThis family-friendly, fun-packed Northern Michigan event is August 4 at Ferry Beach Park in Charlevoix, and there’s still time to register a team.

All photos provided by Charlevoix Circle of Arts

What’s Dragon Boat Racing? 

The sport actually began around 200 BC in China. People held these races to honor dragons and bring prosperity and protection to the land. Thousands of years later, dragon boat racing is an international sport with competitions held around the world, including Charlevoix, Michigan. Charlevoix Circle of the Arts started the event as it helps support their mission to cultivate a more inspired and educated community through the arts.

It’s a Festival, Right?

Up and down the sandy shore at Ferry Beach Park, crowds will experience the festival’s energy like it’s dragon’s fire. At the beginning of the festival, there will be a Dragon Parade with a dancing dragon and team representatives. Families can check out the children’s tent with crafts and dragon boat activities. There’ll be vendors selling dragon boat merchandise and souvenirs to take home. Onsite music will be provided from WKHQ along with live broadcasting. If you’re above 21 and looking for refreshments, Charlevoix Brewing Company will have a beer tent featuring a special dragon-themed beer.

How Do You Start a Team?

At the head of each boat is a drummer dressed in wild garb to represent their team. Their job is to keep the team paddling in rhythm with the drum. As a rower, you can expect to work with your riding partners as the dragon flies across the water. If you’re interested in entering as an individual, group, or business, there are boats still available. Because the event is to raise charity for community arts, there is a feeView fees and team regulations.

We are encouraging groups of friends, businesses and families to build and personalize their teams. This is going to be a fun and exciting event for the community of Charlevoix and our surrounding area! -Gail DeMeyere, Executive Director of Charlevoix Cirlce of Arts 

For more information on getting yourself or a team signed up, contact Charlevoix Circle of Arts at 231-547-3554 or send them an email. The race will start around 9 a.m. and go till 2 p.m. Each team is guaranteed at least two races. Stretching across Lake Charlevoix, the race course is approximately 250 yards long.

Race times are determined by the speed and precision of the oarsmen. There will be awards presented for overall fastest time, the best drummer representing a team, and most enthusiastic team spirit. Do you and your group have what it takes to become the dragon masters? 

Grab Your Dragon Gear 

On August 4, the Charlevoix Dragon Boat Festival will begin with the “Awakening of the Dragon” just before 9 a.m. All along Lake Charlevoix teams will compete, seeking to earn the best time. As winners are determined, teams will move up into further rounds. The final race will determine the winners of the grand prize: The One Eared Dragon. If you and your business, or you and your friends, are looking to compete amongst the dragons this summer, Charlevoix is your place to do it. 

The Charlevoix Dragon Festival is August 4 at Ferry Beach Park (224 Ferry Ave., Charlevoix). For more information please visit Charlevoix Circle of Arts. 

Northern Michigan Summer Events