The 2016 Long Beach Dragon Boat Festival returned to Marine Stadium near the Belmont Shore neighborhood of Long Beach this past weekend. This annual race brings teams from across the world here to compete and race their dragon boats against each other, eventually winning the tournament’s grand prize following the finals on Sunday afternoon. Registration to participate in the races closed a while ago, but spectators of all ages may attend and watch the races for free. Although this festival appears as an event for the participants only, the festival features a handful of things to do that non-racers would also enjoy.
As mentioned above, this festival featured other activities besides the racing that non-racers would enjoy. A tent in the parking lot housed a small stage for traditional Chinese performances, such as balancing acts, music, dancing, martial arts, and more. Nearby this tent, all attendees found the vendor village, complete with booths selling food, drinks, cold treats, merchandise, apparel, accessories, and more.
The hundreds of teams set up their stations along Paoli Way, past the vendor village. Strolling down Paoli Way allowed everyone a glimpse into the areas of the teams, but also allowed spectators to walk down to the shore and watch the races, which all started at the north end of Marine Stadium.
With everything that the Long Beach Dragon Boat Festival has to offer, everyone comes here mainly to watch the races. However, unlike most water-based races, dragon boats involve more than simply your sight. Any sound can shake the air, but a dragon boat team shakes the heart! The combination of the drummer and paddlers working in unity really gets your heart pounding, similar to the feel of a NASCAR race or the Long Beach Grand Prix. When a race actually starts, spectators simply hear drumming, the drummer shouting commands at the paddlers, the paddlers chanting, and the sweep retorting the commands. One cannot help but get excited and cheer on a team, despite not knowing which teams to cheer for!
As one of the world’s grandest dragon boat races, you ought to catch a dragon boat race in all its glory. Fans of racing sports should not miss a dragon boat race. The next opportunity to view a race will take place this October at the Los Angeles Dragon Boat Festival. Like Long Beach, anyone may spectate for free, so bring your friends & family out to this race!