Dragon Boat Race Festival returns to Port Jefferson Sept. 18

Dragon Boat Race Festival returns to Port Jefferson Sept. 18

Dragons will roar on the North Shore once again as the Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce hosts the 7th annual Port Jefferson Dragon Boat Race Festival on Saturday, Sept. 18 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 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 the Jill Nees Russell Performance Stage at the east end of the park at 8:30 a.m. and will include a performance by the Asian Veterans Color Guard, singing of the national anthem by Alanna Wu, a Blessing of the Dragon and the traditional “Eye Dotting” ceremony to awaken the dragon.

This year’s event will consist of 17 racing 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 3:30 p.m. where medals will be awarded in three divisions. Spectators can easily view the race course from the park’s edge.

Team contests for the best team T-shirt, best costumed drummer and best drummer will be judged in the middle of the day. 

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. There will be cultural and educational vendors and retailers as well including representatives from Power Home Remodeling, Pure Mammography – Lake Grove, Panacea Massage and Wellness Studio, Cancer Services Program of Suffolk (Northwell-PBMC), Ameriprise, St. Charles Hospital and Island Sports Physical Therapy.

Always a highlight, food this year will include pot stickers, veggie lo mein, burgers, sliders, empanadas and shaved ice and there will be an abundance of children’s activities including origami, trick yo-yo demonstrations, face painting, and Chinese calligraphy and crafts, courtesy of The Stony Brook Chinese School, Port Jefferson Free Library, Center for Chinese Learning at Stony Brook and LI Youth Development, Inc.

“The Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce is so pleased that we are able to sponsor our 7th annual Port Jefferson Dragon Boat Race Festival. A sincere thank you to our sponsors, VIPs, community partners, vendors, artists, performers, crafters, volunteers, committee members, race teams and everyone who has helped to make this festival possible,” said Ransome.

The event will be held rain or shine. Bring a blanket or lawn chair and come enjoy the festivities! 

Schedule of Events

7:45 a.m.  

Team Captains Meeting on the Great Lawn at Harborfront Park

8:30 a.m.  

Opening Ceremonies with Master of Ceremony Yang Chen

Asian Veterans Color Guard

Singing of the National Anthem by Alanna Wu 

Blessing of the Dragon 

‘Eye Dotting’ ceremony

9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  

Food Vendors, Cultural Crafts, Children Activities, Retail/Educational/Nonprofit Vendor Tables

9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  

Continual Dragon Boat Races in Port Jefferson’s Inner Harbor

9 a.m.  First Races Begin

10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. 

Sound of Long Island Chorus:

Americana Program and Traditional Chinese Songs

10:45 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.

Long Island Chinese Dance Group

11:15 a.m. to noon

Stony Brook Youth Chorus

12 p.m. to 1:20 p.m.  

Lunch Break (no racing)

12 p.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Taiko Tides Drumming 

Drumming contest

12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m. 

Parade of the Team 

T-shirts Contest 

Best Drummer Costume Contest

1 p.m. to 2 p.m.  

Shaolin Kung Fu Lion Dance 

Kung Fu  & Tai Chi Demonstrations

2:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. 

North Shore Karate Demo 

3 p.m.

Last Dragon Boat Race

3:30 p.m.

Closing Ceremonies and Awards

The Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce thanks this year’s generous sponsors including NY Community Bank-Roslyn Savings Bank Division, BMW, Murphy’s Marine Service-PJ Sea Tow, Times Beacon Record News Media, Danfords Hotel and Marina, LI Waste Services, Servpro of PJ, The Gitto Group, Wellbridge Treatment Center, Island Federal and East End Shirt Company and their community partners who help make this festival successful including the Incorporated Village of Port Jefferson, Port Jefferson Code & Highway, Harbor Ballet Theatre, Port Jefferson Ambulance and Suffolk County School Crossing Guards.

This year’s Bronze sponsors:

For more information, call 631-473-1414 or visit www.portjeffdragonracefest.com.