Daily News

Pioneer Valley Riverfront Club Readies for 2024 Dragon Boat Festival on July 20

SPRINGFIELD — The Pioneer Valley Riverfront Club (PVRC) and the Chinese Assoc. of Western Massachusetts are gearing up for the 10th annual Springfield Dragon Boat Festival on Saturday, July 20 on the Connecticut River, featuring dragon-boat races, food trucks, and Asian-themed crafts and entertainment from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at North Riverfront Park, 121 West St., Springfield.

The Dragon Boat Festival draws hundreds for people to the riverfront each summer and is free for spectators, who will observe dragon-boat races on the Connecticut River, enjoy food trucks such as the Thai Chili Food Truck and the PVRC Grille, and cultural performances from the Mountain River Taiko Drummers, Chinese Kung Fu Academy, and the Hong Tinh Duong Lion Dance Team. Opening ceremonies will begin at 8:30 a.m., with dragon-boat races commencing at 9 a.m.

Twenty-five teams from throughout New England are registered to participate in this year’s races. Community teams include Behavioral Health Network, the Chinese Assoc. of Western Massachusetts, as well as the defending champions, Springfield Pharmacy First Responders.

The Springfield Dragon Boat Festival, which has been hosted by the Pioneer Valley Riverfront Club since 2013, attracts hundreds of participants and spectators to the banks of the Connecticut River for a day of competition, festivity, and community support. The festival is an important fundraiser in support of breast-cancer survivors and community programming at the Pioneer Valley Riverfront Club.

The Breast Cancer Survivor Flower Ceremony will take place at approximately 3 p.m., a long-standing tradition of the PVRC Dragon Boat Festival.

“The festival’s ancient Chinese origins are a celebration of life and patriotism,” said Ben Quick, executive director of PVRC. “Today, that manifests as a day of community fun, free entertainment, crafts and activities, and the thrill of a sporting event as spectators watch high-level dragon-boat teams from throughout New England race on our waters.”

Hundreds of paddlers from New England participate in the festival races. A dragon-boat team is comprised of up to 20 paddlers who race against other teams in 200-meter races on the Connecticut River. Each race lasts about one minute, and each team races at least three times on the day of the festival. Dragon boating originated in China 2,000 years ago and today is one of the world’s fastest-growing team water sports. The festival makes it easy for anyone to participate and spectate.

Parking is available at 101 West St. and along Avocado Street. The festival can also be reached via the Connecticut Riverwalk Bikeway. More information can be found at www.pvriverfront.org or by calling (413) 736-1322.