SPRINGFIELD – Thin, pencil-shaped boats sailed up the Connecticut River on Saturday, as teams of synchronized paddlers competed against each other in an ancient Chinese tradition.
It was the eighth annual Dragon Boat Festival, a colorful Asian-themed event featuring dragon boat races, food vendors and entertainment. Spectators lined the shore of the river, as 12 teams from across New England took part.
The festival, held in North Riverfront Park, has been hosted by the Pioneer Valley Riverfront Club since 2013. The event was canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Participating teams included Boston 1 Dragon Boat, BTBC – Titans, Century Dragon Boat Club, First Responders, Hope in The Boat, Ocean State Phoenix, One Racing – Harvard, Paradise City Dragons, Springfield Dragon Rays, Team BHN, USA Waste & Recycling and Veteran Dragon Boat USA.
Dragon boat originated in China 2,000 years ago and is today one of the fastest growing team water sports in the world, according to PVRC.
The festival featured a flower ceremony for breast cancer survivors and their loved ones, the event raising funds to support breast cancer survivors and the club’s community programming.
Entertainment was provided by the Lion Dancers and the Taiko Drummers.
The Pioneer Valley Riverfront Club offers adult and youth programs throughout the fall and winter months. You will find more information about the club and the festival by visiting www.pvriverfront.org.