POINT PLEASANT — Dragons will tear up and down the lake at Krodel Park Saturday, September 28. Dragon boats, that is.
Six dragon boats are visiting from Montreal for a day of racing at the park, proceeds from which are to benefit the Point Pleasant River Museum.
Jack Fowler, director of the river museum, said he is hoping to make a festival of it. The idea is, he said, for businesses or colleges to “buy” boats and recruit employees or students to enter the races, which will be held tournament-style throughout the day.
“We’re hoping companies will look at it as a day of recreation and socializing for their employees.”
Each boat holds 22 people, and two boats will be on the water at a time.
“The company 22 Dragons, which is based in Montreal, will bring six boats,” Fowler said. “We’ll race two at a time and then put winners and losers in brackets so they can compete again later in the day.”
Fowler said that although the activity has become very popular in Canada and other parts of the US, this the first dragon boat race in the Mid-Ohio Valley area.
“So far, the closest one has been Paduca, Ky,” Fowler said.
Each boat has a drummer and a steermaster, provided by 22 Dragons, to help keep the boats on the right course and the competitors in the right rowing rhythm.
While boats race back and forth, Fowler said, he hopes that people on the banks will be having fun, as well.
“We want the day to be as festive as we can make it,” Fowler said, “We have bouncy castles and concessions, and live music.”
Those who have paid for boats, he said, are welcome to set up tents and bring their own games.
Fowler said he is still working on the live music; he plans to have a country band as well as another genre. He is hoping to attract competitors from the regional universities — Marshall University has committed to two boats, while Ohio University and the University of Rio Grande are still considering — so he is open to ideas from those connected with the schools as to what students might want to hear.
People can also participate as individuals for $50 each, Fowler said.
“We have two boats to fill,” Fowler said.
Participants will have the opportunity to practice three times before the race.
“The boats will arrive the weekend prior to race day,” Fowler said. “Then people can come and practice on the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings.”
Races will begin at 9 a.m. Fowler said that anyone desiring more information or to sign up can call him at the river museum, at (304)674-0144. For more information on 22 Dragons itself, visit the web site at www.22dragons.com.