Dragon Boat Festival Returns To Cooper River

Credit: Cooper River Dragon Boat Festival

PENNSAUKEN, N.J. – The Fourth Annual Cooper River Dragon Boat Festival will be held along the Cooper River on Saturday, July 27th, from 8:30 a.m. through 4 p.m.

The festival will feature 200- and 500-meter races for novice or intermediate community teams (mixed and women’s), and competitive sport teams (mixed and women’s) seeking Eastern Regional Dragon Boat Association points. More than 40 teams from the Delaware Valley and mid-Atlantic region are expected to compete for divisional medals and the grand prize, the Cooper Cup.

Dragon boats are the largest flat-water racing canoes in the world. A crew of 20 paddlers paced by a drummer at the bow and guided by a steersperson at the stern combine power and rhythm to achieve maximum acceleration and speed over a 200-meter, 500-meter or 2,000-meter course. Dragon boating is unique in that total novices can compete with very little training or instruction. A perfectly synchronized team is not only visually spectacular but almost always defeats a stronger but less coordinated competitor.

“We are so excited to see the growing popularity of this event. I can think of no other competition that brings together such a wide range of participants – from weekend warriors to regional and national champions,” Wendy Schwartz, one of the founding members of the River Sirens, a South Jersey women’s dragon boat team that organizes the event, said in a press release.

While Cooper River has played host to numerous rowing competitions, this event offers South Jersey’s premier dragon boat competition. 

According to festival organizers, the Cooper River is ideal for dragon boating, drawing praise from athletes and international experts for its sheltered and mild current race course.

Participants and visitors to the festival can expect a day of friendly competition, produced by 22Dragons, a dragon boat organization headquartered in Montreal, Canada that coordinates festivals throughout North America.

Proceeds from the Dragon Boat Festival benefit Food Bank of South Jersey which, according to their mission statement, “provides food to people in need, delivers health and wellness programs, and designs sustainable solutions to help people improve their lives.”

For more information about registering a team or serving as a sponsor, please visit cooperriverdragonboatfestival.org.