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Thousands attend Hartford’s annual Dragon Boat Race and Asian Festival

HARTFORD– Thousands of people lined Hartford’s riverfront for the annual Dragon Boat Race and Asian Festival.

With the sound of the horn the race begins, 71 teams with over 1,500 participants competing for gold in Riverfront Recapture’s annual dragon boat race.

One team came all the way from China!

Michael Zaleski who is the President and CEO of Riverfront Recapture said, “They are really good, it’s exciting to have them racing against our teams in this competition. Teams are coming from New York, Massachusetts and all throughout New England as well.”

Teams were composed of 16-to-22 members each and rowed down a 500 meter course.

“We practice before we actually get on the boat to make sure everyone is in cadence with one another and once we get on we do a few practice rows and actually as we are rowing out to the start line we are still practicing to make sure we are all in sync and we will have it done by the time the race starts,” said Diana Arias.

Hearing the beat of the drums, you see what they are calling cadence and that cadence helps them row.

“And actually everyone works off that drummer in unison, it’s all about if you hit the water at the right time, you stab the water at the right time, keeping the pace at the right time it makes to boat go better,” said Gary Pierson.

Hartford also experienced other parts of the Chinese culture as a part of the Asian festival.

There were food trucks and multiple vendors for everyone, but racers say they are just happy to be on the river.

Diana Arias said, “Honestly just to have a lot of fun, think really positive and to enjoy it because you don’t get to so many opportunities to be in the Connecticut River.”

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