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Asian culture

Dragons will roar on the North Shore once again as The Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce hosts the 6th annual Port Jefferson Dragon Boat Race Festival on Saturday, Sept. 14 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The free event will take place at Mayor Jeanne Garant Harborfront Park, 101A E. Broadway, Port Jefferson and the village’s inner harbor.

The festival is the brainchild of Barbara Ransome, director of operations at the chamber, who attended a dragon boat race festival in Cape May, New Jersey, a few years ago.

Opening ceremonies will begin at 8:30 a.m. and include a performance by the Asian Veterans Color Guard, singing of the national anthem by Peggy Yin, a Blessing of the Dragon and the traditional “Eye Dotting” ceremony to awaken the dragon.

This year’s event will consist of 27 teams with dragon boats provided by High Five Dragon Boat Co. With the first race scheduled for 9 a.m., boat teams will compete on a 250-meter, three-lane racing course. Each team is made up of 20 “paddlers,” one steersman and one drummer. Heats will run all day, culminating in an awards ceremony at 5 p.m. All race teams will have their own “encampment” along Harborfront Park as they are queuing up for their races. Team contests for the best team T-shirt and best costumed drummer will be judged in the middle of the day.

Spectators can easily view the race course from the park’s edge and pier.

In addition to the races, there will be a day-long festival featuring numerous performances including the famous Lion Dance, Taiko and Korean Drum performances, martial arts demonstrations and Asian singing and instrumentals. There will be many cultural and educational vendors and retailers as well. New this year the best “drumming performance” sponsored by Taiko Tides and two new dragon statues.

Six food trucks will be on hand offering American, Italian, Chinese dishes as well as empanadas, smoothies and barbecue options.

Children’s activities will be in abundance with traditional Chinese painting and calligraphy, origami, kite making, trick yo-yo demonstrations and face painting. Adults can enjoy free chair massages, as well as free health screenings.

Free shuttle buses provided by the Port Jeff Jitney will make frequent stops on Oakland Avenue next to the Port Jefferson train station, the CVS parking lot on Barnum Avenue and the northeast corner of Belle Terre Road and Myrtle Avenue to bring eventgoers to the Port Jefferson Village Center from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Special thanks to this year’s sponsors, which include Murphy’s Marine Service-PJ Sea Tow, Incorporated Port Jefferson Village, Port Jefferson Yacht Club, Harbor Ballet Theatre, and  the Port Jefferson Ambulance Suffolk County School Crossing Guards, the Confucius Institute of Stony Brook, NY Community Bank-Roslyn Savings Division, News 12, Jet Sanitation, Island Federal Union, TBR News Media, Danfords-Hotel Marina & Spa & The Waterview-Crest Hospitality, The Gitto Group, Peoples United Bank, PSEG and Servpro of Port Jefferson.

Bring a blanket or lawn chair and come enjoy the festivities. The event will be held rain or shine. For more information, call 631-473-1414 or visit www.portjeffdragonracefest.com.

Schedule of events

7:45 a.m.  Team captains meeting on the Great Lawn at Harborfront Park

8:30 a.m.  Opening ceremonies: Asian Veterans Color Guard; Singing of the National Anthem- Peggy Yin ‘acapella’; Introductions of VIP’s-Blessing of the Dragon and ‘Eye Dotting’ Ceremony

8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Food vendors, cultural crafts, children activities, retail/educational/nonprofit vendor tables

9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Continual Dragon Boat races in Port Jefferson’s Inner Harbor

9 a.m.  First races begin

10 to 11:30 a.m. LI Waist Drum, Riprise Music, Tai Chi-Demonstrations-Stony Brook Chinese School & Long Island School of Chinese, Yana Dance Group, Sound of Long Island Chorus

12 to 1 p.m.  Lunch break (no racing)

12:30 to 1 p.m. Parade of the Team T-shirts Contest & ‘Best Drummer’ Costumer Contest

1 to 2 p.m. Authentic Shaolin Kung Fu-Lion Dance, Kung Fu  & Tai Chi Demonstrations

2 to 3:30 p.m. LI Chinese Dance Group, Lingyan Vocal Art Studio; Alice & Emily Dance Duo; North Shore Youth Music Ensemble

3:30 to 4 p.m.  LI School of Chinese Mother’s Dance Team, Stony Brook Chinese School;  Peggy Yin & Claire Yang-Singing ‘My Homeland’, ‘Big Fish’ Ivan Ge-Keyboard; Zekey Huang-Violin

4 to 4:30 p.m. DDKY-2 Traditional Korean Percussion Pieces-‘Youngnam’ & ‘Chil-chae’;  Junko Fisher-Japanese Dance-‘Matsushima’

4:30 to 5 p.m.  United Martial Arts Center-UMAC Marital Arts Demonstration, Yixin’s Dance Center performing Girl’s Love, Picking Osmuda Flower, The Blue and White Porcelain & Auspicious Peacock

4:45 p.m. Last Dragon Boat race of the day

5 to 5:30 p.m.  Closing ceremonies and awards

Photos courtesy of Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce