MiraBay Hosts Dragon Boat Festival, Seeks Racing Teams

By Samantha R. Evensen

Newland Communities has teamed up with the Pan Am Dragon Boat Association to bring dragon boat racing to MiraBay.

The second annual event will be taking place Saturday, May 11 at 9 a.m. at 428 MiraBay Blvd. in Apollo Beach.

Admission to the event is free.The hope for the event is that at least 10 teams will register and compete in this year’s race. Registration is open now.

There are four teams that have already registered including the local team, the MiraBay Dragon Boat Club’s Leviathans, Pink Dragon Ladies, Blue Dragons Paddling Club and last year’s winners, The Tampa Blade Runners.

“It’s a day they get to race right in their own community and have the home crowd there to cheer them on,” said Lynda McMorrow.

The races include a 350-meter race as well as a 2,000-meter race.Mira Bay residents are charged a registration fee of $15 per paddler to compete in the event. All supplies for the event will be provided including paddles and life jackets. Registration also includes two free practices at MiraBay during the weeks of April 29 and May 6.

Dragon boat racing is a sport that is becoming very popular around the US. The sport stems all the way back to ancient Chinese legend from over 2,000 years ago.

Each boat is 46 ft. long with ten rows manned by a crew of 20 paddlers.Food and drinks will be available for purchase at the event including adult beverages.Entertainment will also be provided in between the races as well as a bounce house for the younger children.

There will be a large tent for onlookers to watch and enjoy the races. Those who would like to come out and support the event are encouraged to bring their own chairs and blankets to sit on so they can comfortably cheer the paddlers to victory.It will be a fun day for friends and family to come out and enjoy the races.

For more information about the event, please visit panamdrag onboat.com.