Seattle Flying Dragon Boat Club Provides Programming to Kenmore
The Seattle Flying Dragon Boat Club was formed in 2007 as a growing infant of the Tacoma Dragonboat Club. SFDBC has expanded rapidly through the years since then and was chosen by the City of Kenmore to provide programming at the newly acquired Squires Landing Park (recently renamed Tl’ awh – ah – dees).
With tremendous efforts from everyone, including the involvement of such people as Rob Karlinsey (City Manager), Doug Ritchie, Debra Srebnik, Duncan Cox, Traci Cole, Sheri Baker, Fong Ng (and many, many more), SFDBC was accepted as an affiliate operating under the tutelage of Kenmore Waterfront Activity Center (KWAC).
What Is Dragon Boat Racing?
Dragon boat racing is a traditional Chinese watersport originating in China over 2400 years ago and is held during the Tuen Ng Festival, around May or June on the Western calendar. A dragon boat is long and narrow with a decorative Chinese dragon head, tail and scales printed on the hull. During races, teams of paddlers paddle furiously to the beat of a drum, providing spectators with a spectacularly exciting and colorful sight. Dragon boating is the fastest growing team watersports with over 35 million paddlers in over 72 countries worldwide.
Tuen Ng Festival
The Tuen Ng Festival is associated with the myth of Qu Yuan, a poet and high-ranking official of the Warring States Period who was exiled from his state by a corrupt king. When he heard that his court had been destroyed by enemies, he drowned himself out of sorrow. It is said that villagers went out in the river with boats and drums to try and rescue his body throwing sticky rice dumplings (zongzi) into the water to prevent fish from eating his corpse, but they were unable to find him. The date of Qu Yuan’s suicide was the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, the same day that the Tuen Ng Festival is celebrated. In addition, zongzi are traditionally eaten on this day.
Building the Fleet
SFDBC Kenmore started out with a 20-person donated Gemini Dragonboat from Kochi Kitazumi, and gained immense traction leading to funding from the City to purchase two additional Champion Dragonboats (one 10-person and one 20-person), which was matched by SFDBC, resulting in a fleet of 4 Champion dragon boats. As is tradition, the Gemini was then donated to the MAC Fa’asaulala Dragon Boat Team paddling out of Big Fork, Montana giving them their very own dragon boat.
KWAC has been instrumental in their commitment to further the sport of dragon boating in Kenmore, and SFDBC looks forward to increased engagement and contribution to Kenmore as one of many fun and active affiliates of KWAC.
Written by Fong Ng