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Organisers celebrate Chinese New Year with dragon boat festival launch

PUBLISHED: 11:21 12 February 2018 | UPDATED: 11:21 12 February 2018

Action from last year's East Anglian Dragon Boat Festival in Oulton Broad. Picture: Sonya Duncan.

Action from last year's East Anglian Dragon Boat Festival in Oulton Broad. Picture: Sonya Duncan.

ARCHANT EASTERN DAILY PRESS (01603) 772434

Teams are being urged to sign up for the 12th East Anglian Dragon Boat Festival, launched to coincide with the Chinese New Year celebrations .

Action from last year's East Anglian Dragon Boat Festival in Oulton Broad. Picture: Sonya Duncan.Action from last year's East Anglian Dragon Boat Festival in Oulton Broad. Picture: Sonya Duncan.

The annual event returns to Oulton Broad on Saturday, August 11, and up to 40 crews are expected to battle it out in brightly painted Chinese dragon boats over the 200m race course, watched by a large audience of spectators.

The festival, organised by Gable Events and sponsored by Warner Leisure Hotels, is also supported by the Lowestoft Journal.

An ancient Chinese history

Dragon boat racing has an ancient Chinese history, dating back 2,000 years to the Kingdom of Chu, where local fishermen used their paddles to stave off vicious fish in a valiant attempt to save drowning warrior poet Qu Yuan. Their efforts failed and in Hong Kong a Dragon Boat Festival (Tuen Ng) is held annually as a re-enactment of this tragic event.

Action from last year's East Anglian Dragon Boat Festival in Oulton Broad. Picture: Sonya Duncan.Action from last year's East Anglian Dragon Boat Festival in Oulton Broad. Picture: Sonya Duncan.

Year of the Dog

According to the Chinese calendar, 2018 is the Year of the Dog and people born in this year are believed to inherit some of the animal’s characteristics, possessing the best traits in human nature such as honesty, loyalty, patience, reliability and intelligence. Their industrious nature, faithfulness and strong bond to others augurs well for the teamwork needed to be successful in dragon boat racing.

Team building

The team event is open to everyone and each crew comprises up to 10 paddlers, a beating drummer at the front of the boat and a steering helm - provided by Gable Events - at the tail end. The dragon boats and all racing equipment are provided, each team receives three races and no previous experience is required, just plenty of team spirit. The festival promises a fantastic day for competitors and spectators alike, with catering and bankside entertainment for all the family between races.

Action from last year's East Anglian Dragon Boat Festival in Oulton Broad. Picture: Sonya Duncan.Action from last year's East Anglian Dragon Boat Festival in Oulton Broad. Picture: Sonya Duncan.

A great fundraising opportunity

The Dragon Boat Festival offers an excellent opportunity to raise money for good causes and at this year’s event, teams are encouraged to raise sponsorship for the charity of their own choosing. Crews opting for the gold and silver entry packages, which include a charity donation as well as marketing benefits, can also nominate their favourite charity to benefit from their donation.

Festival sponsor

Warner Leisure Hotels has been announced as the new title sponsor for this year. Their two Suffolk properties, Gunton Hall and Corton Coastal Village, have been entering teams into the Dragon Boat Festival for several years and are looking forward to renewing their rivalry this year.

Ian Gyte, Warner Leisure Hotels operations director, said: “The Warner team are excited about representing our two East Anglia hotels whilst raising vital funds for our partner charity Macmillan Cancer Support. Our guests are brilliant and are always keen on supporting and getting involved in fundraising challenges. It will be a great challenge for everyone involved and we are thrilled to have two Warner teams entered and be the event sponsor.”

How to join in

For further information and an entry form visit www.dragonboatfestivals.co.uk/eastanglia or call Gable Events on 01780 470718.

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