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Monday, June 19, 2017

Paddles up; registration is open for 2017 Dragon Boat Festival
Register your team now. Be sure to sign up before Aug. 1 and receive a $100 discount on the team registration fee. This year's Dragon Boat Festival takes place Sept. 9 at Warriors' Path State Park.

Paddles up; registration is open for 2017 Dragon Boat Festival

KINGSPORT, Tenn. – Known as one of the biggest community events of the year, the Dragon Boat Festival is officially open for registration.

The 12th annual Mountain States Dragon Boat Festival Presented by SUBWAY® is set for Saturday, Sept. 9, at Warriors’ Path State Park in Kingsport. This year’s event benefits the Circle of Hope, a Mountain States Foundation program that raises money to help cancer patients.

“I can’t even begin to tell you how much Circle of Hope has helped me,” said Dennis Roach of Erwin. “I was diagnosed with mantle cell lymphoma in October of 2015, and I had to make dozens of trips for treatment. I couldn’t work, and my wife had to take time off of her job to take care of me. When you’re going back and forth, gas adds up.”

Circle of Hope provided Roach with gas cards, so he could get his treatment without worrying about the expense of gas. It also offers other services and items related to cancer care like medications, dental assistance and public transportation.

“For a while, I was touch and go. It beat me down pretty good. The last thing I wanted to worry about was how I was going to pay for gas to get my treatment. Thanks to Circle of Hope, I didn’t have to. Instead, I could focus on surviving. And I’m so thankful to say, I’ve been cancer free for three months,” said Roach.

The Dragon Boat Festival features fun for the entire family in support of a good cause. The festival is a free, all-day event offering activities for everyone to enjoy. Along with the dragon boat races, there will be a health fair, a dragon boat kids race for children ages 7-12, and other children’s activities.

Teams are encouraged to sign up soon to ensure their spot in the race and get a discounted rate for early registration.

“Not only is this a great fundraiser for advancing the region’s health care, it is an outstanding event to bring together businesses in the community for a friendly competition. By sponsoring one, and sometimes two dragon boats, we view the festival as an excellent opportunity for employee engagement, team-building and fun for our families,” said Chad Nimrick, general manager for Bell Helicopter, U.S. sites.

The registration fee for a corporate team is $900; for nonprofit and community organizations, it’s $850. Teams that register before Aug. 1 will get a discount of $100.

The boats, which are brought in for the festival from Nova Scotia, have a traditional Chinese design and are decorated to resemble a dragon. Often celebrated in Western culture, dragon boat racing has become an international sport requiring skill and water craftsmanship. A team of paddlers – led by a drummer who sits in the front of the boat – uses strength and coordination to race against competing boats. 

SUBWAY® is the presenting sponsor of this year’s Dragon Boat Festival.

“We’re proud to support an event that helps cancer patients and is so community-focused,” said local SUBWAY® Restaurants of Tri-Cities Board Chair Mickey Baker. “We really hope people come out to the Dragon Boat Festival and have a great time for a great cause.”

To sign up, visit www.mshadragon.org.

For more information, contact Marsha Hammond at 423-302-3124.