Foundation | News Article

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The community is invited to the Mountain States Foundation’s Dragon Boat Festival

KINGSPORT, Tenn. – Paddles up! It’s almost time for the 12th annual Mountain States Foundation Dragon Boat Festival presented by SUBWAY® Restaurants.

Known as one of the biggest community events of the year, the festival is a two-day event, and kicks off Friday, Sept. 8, at Warriors’ Path State Park. Thirty-one teams will be racing over the course of two days.

The Mountain States Foundation Dragon Boat Festival presented by SUBWAY® Restaurants is a free event, full of family-friendly activities. And it’s all for a great cause. Proceeds from this year’s festival will benefit the Circle of Hope through the Mountain States Foundation. Circle of Hope is a program that provides extra resources for patients with cancer who may need financial help while receiving medical care. The program offers services and items related to cancer care like gas cards, medications, dental assistance and public transportation.

“I can’t even begin to tell you how much Circle of Hope has helped me and my family,” 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 the expense of gas wouldn’t be a barrier to receiving his treatment. On average, patients with a diagnosis of cancer make around 75-100 trips yearly for treatments, surgeries, CT scans and doctor visits.

“Circle of Hope does so much for our patients, and it really helps them during their time of need,” said Stacie Davis, oncology educator at the Regional Cancer Center. “It gives them one less thing to worry about while they focus on recovery.”

The Mountain States Foundation Dragon Boat Festival has supported a variety of important causes over its 12-year history, including Niswonger Children’s Hospital as well as youth and adult programs at Woodridge Hospital.

This year’s festival begins on Friday at 7 p.m. with the second annual Battle of the Badges, a competitive dragon boat race celebrating the region’s first responders and military. Spectators are invited to watch this friendly competition among law enforcement, EMS and firefighters.

On Saturday at 8:05 a.m., Sullivan Central High School’s drum line will “awaken the waters,” and then the dragon boats will hit the water to begin racing. The boats have a traditional Chinese design resembling a dragon, complete with a head on the front of the boat and a tail on the back. A team of paddlers uses strength and coordination to race against competing boats. The Murray Guard Marauders have taken home the championship for the last three years, and they’ll be back this year to defend their title.

While the races are underway, there will lots of activities for families to enjoy.

There will be a health fair and a kids’ Dragon Land sponsored by First Tennessee Foundation, featuring silly string battles. The cost is $5 for two cans, and it benefits pediatric oncology. There will also be free face-painting, and the YMCA Kingsport will have fun games and activities for kids.

Bell Helicopter is bringing their fire truck for children to tour, and there will be a cornhole tournament for a $20 a team donation. The winning team gets a custom Mountain States Foundation Dragon Boat Festival presented by SUBWAY® Restaurants cornhole set.

Tennessee Brew Works – a brewery out of Nashville – will be offering samples of their new State Park Blonde Ale from noon to 2 p.m. The beer has been specially created to help raise money for Tennessee State Parks.

Four-legged friends are welcome too, and they’re encouraged to dress up! There will be a doggy stop, and the dog with the best costume will win a prize from Sticky Paws Bakery.

Kids ages 7-12 can participate in their own dragon boat race at noon. Registration starts at 10:30 a.m., and the cost is $10 per child. An adult must accompany them in the boat. Participating kids will be able to take part in the dragon parade and will receive a small gift.

If families get hungry, there will be an array of food trucks at the festival.

You can still register for the cornhole tournament and kids paddle by emailing Marsha Hammond at

For more information, visit or call 423-302-3124.