The Alexandria Museum of Art is organizing the First Annual Louisiana Dragon Boat Races on the Red River on Saturday, May 14th. Dragon Boat racing is a sport that has been around China for hundreds of years, and it has grown in popularity in North America. It is an athletic event that is enjoyed by all ages and all levels of physical accomplishment. Each boat consists of a long boat, 20 paddlers, a drummer in front and a helmsman in the rear.
The Museum is using the expertise of a Montreal based Dragon Boat Racing company to assist with this exciting and unique fundraising event. The race will provide safe exercise and camaraderie for hundreds of participants and wholesome entertainment for thousands of spectators. “We have the Red River outside our backdoor–why not use it for a fun community activity?” says Catherine Pears, Executive Director of the Alexandria Museum of Art. The Museum looks forward to bringing together groups from all cross-sections of Central Louisiana. The competition is open to businesses, churches, schools, athletic groups, military units, government agencies, and groups of friends.
“This is such a unique fundraising event that we hope to grow each year and make a mainstay in the Alexandria events schedule,” says Pears. Already many large employers are embracing this team building exercise with Christus St. Frances Cabrini Hospital, Rapides Regional Medical Center, and Central Louisiana Surgical Hospital on board. Other local companies such as Union Tank Car, Red River Bank, Capital One Bank, Walker Automotive, Diamond Grill/Loyd Hall, and Central Louisiana Home Health have already committed to being a part of the inaugural event. “I think these larger companies see the long term potential of this idea and how it could grow to become an economic plus for the city,” says Wayne Denley, Chairman of the Boat Race Committee. “Other major cities across the country have built these events into city-wide festivals. We are thinking big–that is why we have named it The Louisiana Dragon Boat Races,” says Denley.
To find out more about how to participate or be on a boat team, call Natalie Walker at (318) 443-3458 or go online to www.themuseum.org. Watch for a specific website www.louisianadragonboatraces.com to be launched for the event, which will include more information. Paddles Up!