40 foot long Dragons are not common sights on Tempe Town Lake. Yet don't be startled if you see 50 or more of them cutting across the water during the 7th Annual SRP Dragon Boat Festival this weekend.
Sponsored by SRP and the Arizona Dragon Boat Association, issues in two days of racing, martial arts, dancing, music and vendors celebrating the 2,000 year old Chinese festival of Duan Wu and the Asian culture that influenced so much of Arizona and the Old West.
Dragons were an important part of Chinese culture and honored through the distinctive carved dragon heads and tails of the long, canoe style racing vessels. With 20 paddlers, one boat steerer and the all important drummer, Dragon Boat Racing is a popular event anywhere in the world with a substantial Asian population.
Unlike sculling or more familiar boat team events with fixed oars, Dragon boats are propelled by paddlers coordinated by the "heartbeat" of the dragon - the drummer. Boats are steered with an extended side paddle, handled by an expert "boat steerer".
Hours are 7am - 5pm on Saturday, March 27th and 8am-6pm on Sunday, March 28th. Admission is free. The festival is located on the north shore of Tempe Town Lake, 620 N. Mill Avenue in Tempe.
For directions, sponsorship, team or other information visit www.azdba.com