The Washington DC Dragon Boat Festival is an annual event sponsored each May by the Chinese Women’s League of Washington, DC. The two-day festival features competitive dragon boat races on the Potomac River, colorful cultural performances and hands-on activities. Approximately 60 teams from all over the east coast compete in these thrilling races.
Date and Times
May 20-21, 2017, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
The sport of dragon boat racing has its roots in Ancient China, where the first dragon boat races were held more than 2500 years ago, along the banks of the Yangtze River.
Since then, the sport has often been heralded as the fastest growing water sport in the US and one of the fastest-growing corporate team-building activities in the country. The Washington DC Dragon Boat Festival not only fosters teamwork but also promotes cultural exchange and awareness, which has helped transform the festival into one of the most popular annual events in the region.
Highlights of the Washington DC Dragon Boat Festival
- The festival kicks off with an Eye-Dotting Ceremony to awaken the sleeping dragons and resuscitate the dragon boats with good spirits to provide ultimate enjoyment for all the racers. (Saturday 8:30-9:30 a.m.)
- Breast Cancer Survivor teams are recognized with a carnation ceremony to show support for their courage and spirit. A new feature of the ceremony will be the Snapdragon Poetry Competition for the best poem about breast cancer. The competition is open to all. The first prize is $150 and reading in the Carnation Ceremony.
- 250m Races on Saturday, 500m Races on Sunday.
- Cultural activities include brushing painting, calligraphy, paper cutting, Chinese folks arts Xiang-bao (sachet) making, Kungfu (martial arts) and indigenous dances to present the beauty of the Chinese culture.
The festival takes place near Georgetown between the Thompson Boat Center and the Kennedy Center.
Thompson’s Boat Center
2900 Virginia Avenue, NW
Transportation and Parking
The closest Metro station is Foggy Bottom/George Washington University Station. From there it is a short walk to the festival via New Hampshire Avenue. Paid parking is available at the Kennedy Center Garages and along Water Street/ K Street under the Whitehurst Freeway. Due to a recent change, all of the meters along K Street now charge on Saturdays. See also, parking garages and lots in Georgetown.