Dragons will roar on the North Shore once again as the The Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce hosts the 4th annual Port Jefferson Dragon Boat Race Festival on Saturday, Sept. 16 from 8:30 a.m. to 6 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 Erin and Keira Pipe, a Blessing of the Dragon and “Eye Dotting” ceremony to awaken the dragons, a history of dragon boat celebration in English and Chinese by Port Jefferson School District students and a special appearance by the dragon mascot, sponsored by the Harbor Ballet Theatre.
This year’s event will consist of 33 teams and six 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 race 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 Drum performances, martial arts demonstrations and Asian singing and instrumentals. New this year is the addition of a long-spout teapot ceremony, a type of Kung Fu tea performance.
Various Asian delicacies will be offered from food vendors including pot stickers, sushi and vegetable lo-mein. Fried won tons, ice-cream, Acai Bowls, fried Oreos and zeppoles will also be available for purchase. There will be many activities for children including painting dragon eggs, origami, trick yo-yo demonstrations, plastic straw dragons, making origami, visiting with a bearded dragon and even a photo booth to create a fun memory keepsake. In addition, the Port Jefferson Free Library will host a craft table.
Adults can try their hand at traditional Chinese painting and calligraphy and enjoy chair massages by Panacea Massage & Wellness Studio of Port Jefferson. Various vendors will also be on hand including the Eastern Bonsai Society, Zen Gardens and Suffolk County Medical Society.
Special thanks to this year’s sponsors which include The Confucius Institute at Stony Brook University; LongIsland.com; HSBC; Murphy’s Marine Service-PJ Sea Tow; New York Community Bank, Roslyn Savings Division; News12; Jet Sanitation; Times Beacon Record News Media; Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Danfords Hotel, Marina and Spa; Island Federal Credit Union; Maggio Environmental and Servpro of Port Jefferson.
Free shuttle busses 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. Bring a blanket or lawn chair and come enjoy the festivities. 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
8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Food vendors, crafts, children activities, photo booth pictures, retail/educational/nonprofit vendor tables
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Continual Dragon Boat races in the Port Jefferson’s Inner Harbor
9 a.m. First races begin
9 a.m. Students from Sts. Philip and James School singing famous Chinese poem, ‘Youzi Yin’
9:30 a.m. Performance by Taiko Tides — Japanese percussion instruments, drumming
10 a.m. Sound of Long Island Chorus — Chinese classic and modern singing and dancing
10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Performance of Chinese traditional and folk dances by Yixin’s Dance Center
11:30 a.m. Performances by North Shore Youth Music Ensemble, Stony Brook Youth Chorus and Stony Brook Chinese School’s Tai Chi Team
12 to 1 p.m. Lunch break (no racing)
12 to 12:30 p.m. Parade of the Team T-Shirt Contest and Best Drummer Costume Contest. Location: Show Mobile
12:30 to 1 p.m. Long Island Chinese Dance Group, Long Island Waist Drum Club and History of Dragon Boat celebration
1 p.m. Dragon Boat races continue
1 to 2 p.m. Kung Fu and Tai Chi demonstrations by Shaolin Kung Fu and History of Dragon Boat Celebration in English and Chinese by students from Port Jefferson School District
2 p.m. Chinese ‘Peacock Dance’ performed by Alice and Emily Snyder, students from Edna Spears Elementary School and Stony Brook Chinese School’s Tai Chi Team
2:30 p.m. Min Li ‘Long-Mouth Teapot’ Ceremony (‘Kangfu’ Teapot Performance)
3 p.m. Performance by Stony Brook Youth Chorus and Yana LI Dance Group (Asian cultural performance, dancing, singing )
3:30 p.m. United Martial Arts Center — Japanese Karate and Ninjutsu
4 p.m. Taiko Tides — Japanese percussion instruments, drumming
4:45 p.m. Last Dragon Boat race
5 to 5:30 p.m. Closing ceremonies and awards