Cary, NC – For years, the Triangle’s Dragon Boat Festival has brought people to Cary to experience Chinese culture and this year looks to bring in around 10,000 visitors to watch the dragon boat races, see live performances, visit booths representing dozens of different cultures and nationalities, and new this year, get medical screenings for a variety of physical conditions.
This year’s Dragon Boat Festival takes place on Saturday, September 22, 2018 at Koka Booth Amphitheatre, and so far 25 different teams have signed up to compete in the annual dragon boat race where participants paddle their boats around Symphony Lake.
Yun Chuu with Asian Focus NC said this year, the team parade is changing to give audiences the chance to see the racers themselves.
“We have more stage time to give them exposure and we’re building up the award ceremony,” Chuu said.
The event, presented by Asian Focus NC with the Town of Cary and Pan Am, grows each year according to Chuu.
“There are nearly 90 booths this year,” Chuu said. “We’re increasing the cultural village with new nationalities and countries.”
Part of the cultural village is its assortment of authentic ethnic food and Chuu said this side has been expanded as well.
“Now there are unique drinks from different countries. For example, we have a vendor with fresh sugar cane juice, which is popular in South Asia, plus the popular shaved ice is also back,” Chuu said. “And the food served is authentic and is the kind of food you don’t usually see at restaurants.”
Checking Your Health
New this year to the Dragon Boat Festival is an emphasis on health screenings, with various medical, pharmaceutical and dentistry groups available to give people select check-ups, with doctors and medical interns on site.
“People can get glaucoma checks,” Chuu said. “There will also be representatives from UNC there to screen heart health, diabetes and talk about how to stay healthy.”
For entertainment, Chuu said the Town of Cary has created several games and activities, including calligraphy and henna tattooing, plus an art teacher will show children how to make their own mini dragon boats. The Confucius Institute at NC State will also be providing costumes modeled after ancient imperial Chinese dress.
Currently, people can get discounted tickets by buying them early at Koka Booth Amphitheatre or at the Grand Asia Market on Buck Jones Road. Children 12 and younger get in for free.
The 2018 Dragon Boat Festival runs from 9 AM to 4:30 PM on Saturday, September 22 at Koka Booth Amphitheatre.
Story by Michael Papich. Photos by Firerose Photography.