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THE CHARLEVOIX CIRCLE OF ARTS will host an inaugural Dragon Boat Festival on August 4th at Ferry Beach Park in Charlevoix. The festival is a fundraising initiative to help support their mission to cultivate a more inspired and educated community through the arts. They are seeking community involvement ranging from sponsorships, creation of teams and volunteers. In the process, participants will experience the beauty and energy of this ancient festival. Dragon Boat Races are a rapidly growing sport combining rich Chinese traditions, competition, community building and a great deal of fun!
Festivals to honor the dragon began around 200 BC in China in which long narrow boats were built representing dragons and races were held in the belief that they would bring prosperity and bounty to the people. A happy dragon would protect the people, but an angry dragon could wreak havoc. Dragon boat festivals were a way to honor the dragon to assure a harmonious life. Prior to a race, the dragon vessels are “awakened” from a deep sleep by doyting the eyes of the dragon with red paint.
The Charlevoix Dragon Boat Festival will blend many various aspects of the community including non-profits, patrons, businesses, schools and individuals that wish to get involved. There will be practice drills for teams to familiarize them with racing held on the two days prior to the race. The day of the race, August 4th, the awakening ceremony will take place in the morning with honorary Lynn and Mason Rosenthal among those dotting the eyes to awaken the dragons. The Rosenthal’s are supporters of many local organizations and in 2012 they received the Margaret Duerr Award in recognition of their support of the community.
The Dragon Boats will be 46’ long and feature 20 paddlers, one drummer and one steersman. The job of the drummer is to keep an effective beat to synchronize the paddlers. This person generally dresses in some wild garb to represent their team. The steersman is provided by the Dragon Boat Company as it requires specific training. The Dragon Boat Race will be approximately 250 meters long and each team is guaranteed to race at least two times. For more information, you can read about the festival online at: www.charlevoixdragonfestival.org.
For more information on the Charlevoix Circle of Arts, you are encouraged to visit at 109 Clinton Street in the heart of downtown Charlevoix. The Charlevoix Circle of Arts website is: www.charlevoixcircle.org, or call at (231) 547-3554.