ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Tampa Bay has all sorts of fun activities to enjoy around the water and on Saturday hundreds of paddles will churn the waters of the Garrison Channel in Tampa. The Tampa Bay International Dragon Boat Races take place along the downtown waterfront from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
“Dragon Boats have a head and a tail, a drummer, and 20 people paddling,” explains Elizabeth Dunsmoor, an amateur paddler. “It’s a very exciting thing to see.”
Pan Am Dragon Boat puts on the race and this year the group’s charitable partner is The Junior League of Tampa. And besides all the excitement of watching the races, there are other things to see and do at Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park.
“Our specialty is building out the event and making it a family-friendly event for everyone involved,” says Junior League President Nicole Hubbard. “There will be live bands out there, there’s food…a vendors’ village—I mean, we have it for you—so come on down.” There is no charge to watch the races or stroll through the festival.
The races will have various heats based on skill levels. You’ll see professional racers, club teams, and corporate boats with novices on board, who are paddling for fun and team building.
The races are also a good way to promote exercise and healthy living in the community and that’s why the General Mills Foundation stepped up as the title sponsor.
Proceeds from the races will help support the many community-improvement projects of The Junior League of Tampa.