The 4th annual Solomons Dragon Boat Festival kicked off on Sunday, August 10, with a reception for donors, racers, and community members. The festival is a fun-filled, family friendly event that will occur at the Solomons Riverwalk on Saturday, August 17 from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Funds raised by the festival will go to Southern Maryland Community Resources (SMCR), a non-profit agency that supports and advocates for individuals with special needs. They offer social, recreational and educational opportunities allowing individuals with developmental differences to contribute their unique gifts and develop their potential.
Bonnie Elward, Executive Director of SMCR, thanked the group for all the assistance they had given to make the event a success. Ms. Elward said the monies raised will assist with the many programs provided by SMCR. She stated that the organization “does not invest money in building, instead the money is invested in people. It is our goal to see past the disability and see what wonderful people they are.”
Kevin Detwiler appreciates the work of SMCR. He spoke at the event saying “I would like to say thank you to the volunteers and sponsors that work within the Southern Maryland Community Resources for hosting all of the events for my friends and I. The Friday evening events are very special. The Movie Night, Adventures and Activity Night, Game Night and the other special events give us an opportunity to get out of the house that we would not have if SMCR didn’t exist.”
Kevin said he had made many friends through SMCR and this would not have been possible without the dedication, determination and hard work of Bonnie Elward and the volunteers. He is looking forward to cheering on the Dragon Boats on Saturday.
What is Dragon Boat Racing? Begun in China more than 2,500 years ago, it is a sport that relies on timing and teamwork. A dragon boat team consists of 16 paddlers, a drummer and steersperson. Success depends on how well the team works together. Because of this, dragon boat racing has become very popular as a team-building exercise for corporate, community and civic organizations.
Last year’s event drew more than 5,000 people. Each year the group adds more to make this a great event.
Friday, August 16, the “Dotting of the Eye” will take place on the lawn of Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church at 5:30 p.m. The boats will be blessed, then selected participants will paint in the eyes of the Dragons. This is done to wake up the Dragons so they will be ready to race on Saturday. There is a rumor that there will be a very special “Flash Mob” that evening!
Saturday, August 17, is race day. Solomons will be filled with intense heart-pounding action and the sounds of Chinese drums as teams of 16 paddlers, a drummer and a steersperson race against each other in a colorful 40-foot Dragon Boat. The Opening Ceremony begins at 8 a.m. with a parade of teams. Racing will start at 9 a.m. Teams will compete for fastest time, best tent decorations, best team costumes, most funds raised and more!
Throughout the day, a variety of entertainment, food & craft vendors and children’s activities will be available. You should visit the “Team Village” to view the crazy costumes and tent decorations. Free shuttles are available to parking.
Teams include AMEWAS, Asbury Solomons, Avian, Cedar Point FCU, Century 21, Chopticon High School, Great Mills High School, Leonardtown High School, KBR Wyle, Kingfishers, Leadership Southern Maryland, O’Brien Realty, Our Lady Star of the Sea, Patuxent Presbyterian, Personalized Therapy, Smartronix, St. Aloysius, and Tidewater Dental.
Come out and cheer your favorite team on!
Please enjoy the picture gallery below.
Joyce Stinnett Baki / Calvert Beacon