Dragon Boat Festival in Oakland
This Sunday, August 14th, from 9:00 in the morning until 3:00 in the afternoon, Lake Merritt in Oakland will be the location of the 4th annual Dragon Boat Festival.
If you are not from Oakland (and maybe even if you have lived there your whole life) you might be wondering just what dragon boats are and what the race consists of. Basically, it is a boat race that highlights speed, power, stamina, and teamwork, much like contemporary rowing does. Each boat is decked out spectacularly and made to look as much like a dragon as possible, with a carved dragon head emerging from the front of the boat and a tail coming out the back end. The boat itself, which is around 40 feet in length, is decorated with colorful scales. As for the “claws,” these are the oars that are being pulled by a team of exceptional rowers all coordinated by the drummer, who sits at the front of the boat, and the steersperson, who sits in the rear.
The first U.S. dragon boat team was founded by Oakland’s Fire Department back in the mid-1980s, and since then it has become something of a passionate sensation for those Oaklanders who participate. Sunday’s race will include racers from all around the Bay Area as well as teams who come from further afield in the Northern California landscape. The competitors will challenge each other in order to achieve the best times and receive the best prizes while the fans along the river will cheer for their favorites.
This race, which has been organized by the Renegades Dragon Boat Club, is set to be one of the more memorable dragon boat races that has taken place over the past few years. The Renegades themselves have received tremendous attention and many accolades for their past organizing skill (including for the Halloween Howl, the St. Patty’s Paddle, and the May Day Regatta), and they are thrilled to be hosting a larger festival with a much wider draw.
Anyone in the Bay Area who is interested in nautical sports and exploring the area should consider attending the 4th Annual Dragon Boat Festival in Oakland this weekend.