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Rip Up the River: Don't Miss the 2014 Edmonton Dragon Boat Festival on August 15-16, 2014

Posted by Sara MacLennan on Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 at 9:32pm.

Did you know that Edmonton is home to one of the most unique and impressive festivals in the country? Hosted by the Edmonton Dragon Boat Festival Association, this 2014 Edmonton Dragon Boat Festival is set to wow attendees with dragon boat racing, traditional music, dancing and other ceremonies, and vendors serving all sorts of delicious food. Let's take a closer look at the 2014 festival and what you can expect when it lands in Edmonton this August.

Blessing of the Boats

Though the Edmonton Dragon Boat Festival technically starts on Friday, many visitors arrive early for the annual Blessing of the Boats. This event, which takes place on Wednesday August 13th at six pm, is an event that few will want to miss as traditional monks come out to bless each of the boats that will race later in the week. The event takes place at the Louise McKinney Park and lasts for around 30 minutes. Before and after watching the blessing, visitors have the chance to see some of the dragon boats up close and talk with the owners and racers who will be competing.

The 2014 Racing Schedule

The focus of the festival is on the dragon boat races, and visitors have the chance to watch a number of these over the course of the weekend. Festivities kick off Friday night with the Novice Cup race, which is only open to those new to the world of dragon boat racing and those who haven't competed in the past. The race starts at 7:30 on Friday the 15th, and visitors can actually jump in the water and have some fun after the race ends. The biggest of the races will take place the next day, on Saturday. Participants race at two different times, and those with the fastest combined speeds move to the next race.

2K Charity Race

Those who come to the Edmonton Dragon Boat Race every year will find that the 2014 event introduces a new and exciting experience. The 2K Charity Race will launch this year, and while the event organizers haven't picked a winning charity yet, participants can feel good about raising money for a local charity. As the organizers didn't want to distract attendees from the competitive dragon boat races, they planned the charity race for later on Saturday. Participants can register either in advance online or on site.

Dancers, Food Trucks, Vendors and More

In addition to the dragon boat races, visitors can watch the opening ceremonies on Saturday which includes lion dancers and other entertainers. Food trucks and souvenir vendors will be on hand to sell different treats and products, and visitors can also enjoy live performances and entertainment throughout the weekend. The Pink Ribbon Challenge and Walk, which highlights locals with breast cancer, is another event that is worth attending.

Whether you've got some casual curiosity about dragon boat racing or you have a friend or family member involved, the 2014 Edmonton Dragon Boat Festival looks like it will be one of the best yet. Have fun!

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