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pot jefferson dragon boat race festival

Photo by Julianne Mosher

For its seventh year, the Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual Port Jefferson Dragon Boat Race Festival this past weekend.

Full of color and culture, dragons danced around Mayor Jeanne Garant Harborfront Park on Saturday, Sept. 8 for a day full of fun festivities. 

Originally spearheaded by Barbara Ransome, director of operations at the chamber, she came up with the idea after she attended a dragon boat race festival in Cape May, New Jersey, a few years ago.

“We could not be more pleased that coming somewhat out of COVID we were able to successfully run a safe outdoor event with excellent participation and with wonderful weather,” Ransome said. 

Opening ceremonies began at the Jill Nees Russell Performance Stage at 8:30 a.m. and included 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.

“To have people come to Port Jefferson, to this beautiful park, and spend the day here is great,” said Stu Vincent, first vice president of the chamber.

This year’s event consisted of 17 racing teams with dragon boats provided by High Five Dragon Boat Co. The teams competed on a 250-meter, three-lane racing course in Port Jefferson Harbor, and were made up of 20 “paddlers,” one steersman and one drummer. 

Along with the races, the festival hosted several performances including the famous Lion Dance, Taiko and Korean Drum performances, martial arts demonstrations and Asian singing.

In the middle of the festival, teams also competed for best t-shirt, where The Moody Team won. 

Team NYCB took home the gold, while Vax NYC placed second and Extreme NY placed third.