The 9th annual Dragon Boat Festival will take place on April 29, 2017, by Ground Zero, a nonprofit Christian youth group, in The Market Common, Myrtle Beach. Dragon Boats are long boats propelled by teams of rowers. This year’s festival is expected to draw over 5,000 festival attendees, according to a recent article in The Sun News.
Ground Zero spokesman, Scott Payseur, said now is the time to sign up if you plan on participating. He said 59 teams are currently registered, but many signed up near the event time last year. Payseur said he is hoping for more participants than in previous years as they comprise the main fundraising source for Ground Zero.
Each team consists of a captain and 21 paddlers and all are responsible for raising the $200 entry fee. Spectators attend the festival for free, and kids can spend all day in the “family-fun zone” for $10 per child.
According to Payseur, teams sign up because it’s competitive, it can be because they like to stay in shape [or] it can be because they’re looking for something different to do with their buddies.
Event organizers provide boats, paddles, life jackets and a professional steering team member so that unfamiliar riders stay on course. Each team is given an hour to practice in the week leading up to the event.
Ground Zero usually profits about $100,000 from the event, which helps with operating costs of their programs. The group holds concerts, brings speakers and hosts other events to support its mission of teen outreach and is trying to establish weekly events this year.
Those interested can sign up at mygroundzero.com or call 843-945-9440.