8th Annual Habitat Dragon Boat Festival Announced

Gadsden, AL – The 8th Annual Habitat Dragon Boat Festival is slated for Saturday, August 17, 2019 at Riverwalk Park behind Chili’s in Gadsden, AL. The opening ceremony will be at 8:45 a.m. Races begin at 9:00 a.m. Team registration is now open. Information and registration forms are available at:  256-543-1898, info@gadsdenhabitat.com  website www.habitatdragonboat.com or Facebook/habitatdragonboat.

With origins dating back 2,300 years, dragon boat racing is the most fun, unique cultural event featuring adrenaline-pumping action. Teams race in colorful 46-foot long Chinese dragon boats adorned with decorative dragonheads and tails, with 20 paddlers, a drummer and steerer navigating a racecourse at speeds of 10-15 mph. Dragon boat racing is the 8th fastest growing sport in the world that’s enjoyed by more than 50 million people in 64 countries!

“People love it – the thrill, the teamwork, the adrenaline, the interaction in the boat – everything,” said Suzanne Scharfenberg, co-chair. “People who never thought of themselves as athletes can thrive in a dragon boat,” she said. People who are athletes discover a challenging alternative to general sports. Last year, over 350 athletes/paddlers participated. Now, it’s time to gather friends, family, and co-workers and register your team for a great day on the Coosa River in Gadsden, AL.

Janet Tarrance, the captain of Gadsden Parks & Recreation’s team “NoccalulOARS” said, “It's said for a community to be healthy and whole it is based on the concern and love for each other. That’s exactly why I love participating in the Habitat Dragon Boat Festival. It's based on love and concern for others and gives families opportunities to own their own home. Each year, when I hear that another family has moved into their new house it makes my heart feel extremely happy. It’s one of my favorite events.”
 
“Currently, House #53 is under construction in E. Gadsden and is funded, in part, by last year dragon boat festival,” said Suzanne Scharfenberg, Executive Director.
 
Steve Scharfenberg, co-chairman said, “The goal of the Habitat Dragon Boat Festival is to raise funds to continue the mission of building simple, decent and affordable houses in our community. We want to raise awareness of the Habitat ministry, to inform families of the eligibility requirements, and to attract more volunteers while having a great time on the water.” Anyone who wants to volunteer should call the Habitat office. All skill levels are welcome.

Habitat for Humanity is working with Pan Am Dragon Boat Association LLC out of Tampa, FL this year. They will provide the staff, boats and equipment for the Habitat Dragon Boat Festival and well as one hour of practice with a coach during the week prior to the Saturday event.

In addition to the dragon boat races, there will be kid’s activities, face painting, drummer’s parade, vendors, and free mini-dragon boat rides following the races. Admission is FREE. Mark your calendar and come spend the day at the river in support of Habitat for Humanity. Visit: www.habitatdragonboat.com for information or info@gadsdenhabitat.com or call 256-543-1898.

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