DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) — The ninth annual Dragon Boat Race and Festival is set to kick off on Saturday, May 14 at Point Mallard Park in Decatur.
1,200 paddlers across almost 50 teams will take to the water to support the Decatur Morgan Hospital Foundation. Crews will race an authentic 46-foot-long Hong Kong-style dragon boat in at least two races on the 250-meter course.
Opening ceremony activities start at 8:30 a.m. with the Daikin Taiko Drummers’ exhilarating performance followed by the “Awakening of the Dragon” where the eyes of the dragon heads are dotted as a symbol to awaken the spirit of the dragons. Races will start at 9 a.m. and run until 4 p.m., rain or shine.
There is a maximum of 60 teams allowed to compete and registration is open through May 6. Those interested in competing can find all of the team requirements and the registration form on the event’s website.
Spectators can watch the races from the beach area of the Point Mallard Aquatic Center or from the water at a safe distance from the racecourse. There will also be tailgate tents, music, concessions, activities and plenty of family fun.
The Aquatic Center pools and rides will be closed during the event.
All donations will benefit the Decatur Morgan Hospital Foundation and will help pay for the hospital’s second da Vinci® Robotic Surgical System. The surgical robot allows surgeons to perform surgical procedures with precision and helps patients with recovering and healing time.
The festival started in 2012 with 53 teams competing for medals and bragging rights. Since then more than $1 million has been raised.