Hundreds of rowers paddle their way to the Flats for this weekends Cleveland Dragon Boat Festival. And teamwork is crucial, says organizer Michael Ciccarello. [Youve got] 20 people paddling together on a 44-foot canoe -- with one person at the bow with a drum, providing the tempo, he says. Its really important youre all in sync. You have to work together to win.
Dozens of teams will participate in a series of 500-meter races, which kick off at the Plain Dealer Pavilion today. The Cleveland Rowing Foundations Mark Silverstein, who started the event in 2003, says paddling is relatively easy to pick up. We rented boats from a company in Canada and trained for four days, he recalls of the initial fest. Thats all it took. Landlubbers can get in on the action too. Local Asiatown restaurants and shops will supply food and drinks, while spectators cheer on the boaters. Were in a wonderful situation in Cleveland, where there is both a lake and a river, providing an authentic race experience for everyone, says Silverstein. Its a blast -- whether youre watching or participating.
Sat., Sept. 1, 11 a.m.; Sun., Sept. 2, noon