Witness a thrilling nautical race at Ottawa's Dragon Boat Festival
- Travel News
- Wednesday, 14 March 2012 09:28
Although the Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival is not until June, travellers who want to be a part of this exciting event while on holiday this summer should start making their plans now. This is the largest race of its kind in North America and draws thousands of spectators and participants to the Rideau River in Mooney's Bay Park every year.
Dragon boat racing has a history dating back to ancient China, more than 2,000 years ago. Traditionally crafted of wood, the long vessels are steered by several paddlers who row in sync to propel forward. Races currently occur all over the world since the sport has remained popular to a wide audience for centuries, no matter what culture they identify with.
From June 22 to the 24, nearly 200 paddle teams will compete in several categories that range from recreational to professional. All boats have 20 rowers, one drummer and a helmsman to steer. Most of the teams are out to have fun and express their enthusiasm by wearing colourful costumes, war paint or even traditional Chinese garb. Those taking part in the Ottawa races need not have any experience at all, and may compete in mixed gender or all-women teams.
Those who prefer not to be in a boat during the event are in luck, as the festival has activities and attractions that all may participate in. In the past, spectators have been able to attend BMX bike demonstrations, drumming circles and live concerts with world class artist like The Trews, Steven Page and Bedouin Soundclash. For the little ones, there will be a special children's section in the park that provides kids with hours of entertainment, such as magic acts, interactive science experiments, balloon animals and reptile shows.
More information about what events are occurring and how to register a dragon boat in the race can be found on the festival’s official event website or at the Ottawa dragon boat Facebook fan page. Admission is free, but some of the festivities may require a fee or tickets be purchased in advance.
Tours of Ottawa this June would not be complete without experiencing this exciting occasion on the waterways of Canada's capital city. The Dragon Boat Festival is sure to be something that travelling families and couples can enjoy.