With the end of summer right around the corner, our next holiday is Labor Day weekend. Labor Day weekend in Lansing is full of excitement. Please join us for the second annual Capital City Dragon Boat Race down the Grand River in East Adado Riverfront Park. You can participate in this exciting event in many ways. If paddling a dragon boat isn’t your “thing”, you could be a part of our dragon boat community as a volunteer!
The Capital City Dragon Boat Race is produced by a team of like-minded volunteers interested in renewing waterfront activity on the Grand River. We are looking for volunteers to help on race day – many different skills can be put to good use that day! But you can also get involved in advance!
Here are a couple of ideas for the creative members of our community:
- T-SHIRT DESIGN: Please submit your design for our Volunteer t-shirts (short-sleeved or sleeveless). Main design should be on the back and include space for sponsor names and logos. You can include small design on the front, as well. We will also use this design for the Event T-shirts each team member will receive after the race. Last year’s shirt was long-sleeved with design down one sleeve. Design should reflect the Asian theme of the Capital City Dragon Boat Race.DEADLINE FOR DESIGN: MONDAY, AUGUST 6, 2012. Please contact us at LansingDragonBoat@gmail.com.
- CREATE THE PADDLE FOR THE TEAM SPIRIT AWARD: The motto of the American Dragon Boat Association is “Friendship Through Paddling.” The Team Spirit Award is voted upon by the participants of the race, honoring the team that best exhibits this motto. We would like this award to be a plaque mounted on a small replica of a dragon boat paddle (Note: dragon boat paddles are unique in design, with a flat bottom on the blade.) Any woodworkers out there interested in creating this paddle for us?DEADLINE FOR COMPLETED PADDLE (minus the plaque): THURSDAY, AUGUST 9, 2012. Please contact us at LansingDragonBoat@gmail.com.
- DESIGN THE MEDALS / AWARD PLAQUES: We provide medals for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place finishers. These should be designed to hang on ribbon lanyards and should reflect the Asian theme of the Capital CIty Dragon Boat Race.DEADLINE FOR DESIGN: MONDAY, AUGUST 6, 2012 Please contact us at LansingDragonBoat@gmail.com.
Please share this so we can reach out to Mid-Michigan creative folks willing to help us with these projects! THANK YOU!
~ Dragon Lady ~
About three more months until the Capital City Dragon Boat Race returns to the banks of the Grand River and brings excitement to Downtown Lansing on Labor Day Weekend again. The teams of 20-25 paddlers will race 40-foot long, ‘flag-catcher’ style Dragon Boats for 300 meters north into Adado Riverfront Park from the Lansing City Market. Spectators will have opportunity to watch the race from either side of the river or the Shiawassee St. Bridge.
“Teams have been forming and community excitement is building. We look forward to the continued growth of Capital City Dragon Boat Race to become one of the premier dragon boat races in the Midwest,” says Mike Price, Executive Director of the Greater Lansing Sports Authority.
For more information, including team registration and training tips, please visit www.CapitalCityDragonBoat.com. Training and informational opportunities will also be announced soon. Don’t miss it!
Marla Baker, a present captain and warehouse volunteer of DragonSports USA, was profiled in the article, “Dragon Boat racing offers social, physical benefits” by the Daily Journal of Commerce’s Reed Jackson on Thursday, May 10, 2012. Baker currently captains three times a week and has raced boats for nine years. Being on the bow of a 700-pound boat enables her to forget about any life challenges, such as raising her 10 grandchildren and running her boat repair company by herself.
“It’s a release for everything. This is definitely my out in life,” says Baker, “It’ll make you a happier person – on the jobsite as well as in life.” She is a successful former owner – known as the “hood lady” – of a stainless steel company that furnished kitchen restaurants across the country. Baker mentions that many racers are either architects or contractors. In fact, her husband, Chuck Baker is also an electrician. With their previous job experience, they have become proficient boat builders.
Darrell Hames, the owner of DragonSports, also believes that people who work in the field of architecture and construction have exceptional interest in the competitive sports like Dragon Boat racing.
Hames mentions, “It’s a sport where you have to have the ability to take time off and go to the races, and you have to be able to afford it.” This is the reason why DragonSports tend to get more racers that possess the individual professional aspects or are the business owners.
Dragon Boat racers are serious about making connections and competitive sports. Dragon Boat racing attracts people as a great opportunity for social networking. Baker states that the real draw to racing is that regardless of age, size or past, someone can make 24 new friends almost immediately. It does not only offer social benefits, but also physical benefits. Baker continues that this is one of the healthiest things you can do because paddling helps prevents injuries on the job site.
The 2012 Capital City Dragon Boat race is rapidly approaching, but before setting sail, all Dragon Boat Races must ‘Awaken’ their dragons. The ceremony isn’t your typical ceremony in the sense that it is quiet and calm. The dragon’s eyes must be opened and all evil warded off!
The Awakening the Dragon cermeony for CCDBR will take place at dusk, Saturday, September 1, 2012. Spectators for the ceremony will be the first to see the boats, painted in immaculate detail. The ceremony, in respect to Chinese custom, will open the dragon’s eyes, ward off evil spirits and prepare the Grand River for competition. The ceremony not only blesses and cleanses the area for competition, but also the spectators and competitors.
According to Shelagh Pierce, dragon boat racing came at a time when “A time when superstition determined how a person lived. In fact, dragon boat racing began more than 2000 years ago when a group of superstitious people believed that the boat racing would ensure prosperous and bountiful crops.” The awakening ceremony was originally created to cleanse, but also to honor the death of Ch’u Yuan a Ch’u statesmen. When his advice to the king of Ch’u was rejected and he was exiled, his sorrows lead him to throw his body in the Mi Lo River. The people of the kingdom who loved Ch’u Yuan would float in the river around his body, beating drums and splashing their oars to keep fish and water dragons from him.
Dragon boat racing made its way into Chinese tradition with some extreme rituals, such as drowning a person in sacrifice or capsizing a boat. Thankfully, many of these rituals have been removed over the years and the ceremony has evolved into something entertaining. Though much has changed in the years since Ch’u Yuan’s death in 4 B.C, the CCDBR will honor the custom in their own style at dusk the night before the races.
Those attending the Michigan Mosaic Music Festival can walk across the bridge to the ceremony and enjoy the festivities. Racing will commence the following morning, Sunday, September 2, at 8 AM until the bracket has been completed.
Our mission for the Dragon Boat race is simple: to revitalize the Grand River, Adado Riverfront Park and the River Trail.
The River Trail, Adado Riverfront Park and Grand River play host to thousands of people looking for outdoor activities in Lansing, each summer. These are sites where families spend quality time together, friends catch up on their busy lives and lifelong healthy habits are formed. It is imperative that we invest in these community attractions. Dragon boat racing gives us the perfect platform to attract more visitors and raise money for revitalization projects.
The dragon boat committee formed a partnership with Mid-Michigan Environmental Action Council (an action-based environmental organization) to ensure that all proceeds from the 2011 race are used to create environmentally sound projects that will enhance Lansing’s waterfront. A few positive changes have already started to materialize at East Adado Park, the area around the boat docks will being cleared out and additional docks will be constructed.
We are thrilled to bring the fastest growing water sport in the world to Lansing. We hope that this event will spark a new interest in Lansing’s waterfront.