Daily News

Pioneer Valley Riverfront Club to Host Dragon Boat Open House on May 18

SPRINGFIELD — The Pioneer Valley Riverfront Club (PVRC) will host a dragon boat open house on Saturday, May 18 from 9 a.m. to noon at the PVRC Boathouse at North Riverfront Park, 121 West St., Springfield. PVRC will welcome the Veterans Dragon Boat USA team, which is recruiting new veterans to its team that will compete in this year’s PVRC Dragon Boat Festival.

The open house is for all to attend to learn more about rowing, dragon boating, and kayaking programs available to the public at PVRC this summer.

PVRC is preparing for its 10th annual Dragon Boat Festival on Saturday, July 20, and registration is now open for teams to participate at www.pvriverfront.org. Teams that sign up prior to May 27 receive an early-bird discount.

Veterans Dragon Boat USA is the nation’s first sustained all-veteran dragon boat team. At the open house on May 18, which is Armed Forces Day, veterans are encouraged to come and learn more about the team and how to join. No experience is necessary, only a desire to learn a new sport alongside fellow veterans.

According to Ben Quick, executive director of PVRC, “a dragon boat is like a 20-person canoe. The feeling of this many people all working together is inspiring, energizing, and rewarding. Come give it a try and see why it’s such a popular way to enjoy recreation, exercise, and teamwork.”

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.

More than 20 teams with hundreds of paddlers from throughout New England participate in PVRC’s Dragon Boat Festival each year. A 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.