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    Countybank Tent Village map (coming soon!)


    The Dragon Boat Upstate Festival, now in its ninth year, has raised over $1.3 million to date in support of local families and hosts more than 1,500 visitors and team members during the annual event. Paddlers, volunteers and supporters enjoy a day at the lake while supporting cancer research, rehabilitation and other cancer services at the GHS Cancer Institute.

    Twenty (20) paddlers and one (1) drummer all work together (along with a professional oarsman provided for each team) to race on the waters of Lake Hartwell. A minimum Dragon Boat Team entry fee is $2,500 (teams are encouraged to raise $6,500 or more). Captains and their teams are encouraged to fund raise between now and May 2 using the Dragon Boat Upstate Festival website and mobile app. No prior experience required to participate! Just bring your enthusiasm and comfortable clothes.


    • Each team must race with a minimum of 16 paddlers.

    • Each team must race with a minimum of 8 female paddlers.

    • Each team must provide their own drummer.

    • Each team will be provided with a steersperson by festival staff.

    • It is recommended that each team have 25 participants: 20 paddlers, 1 drummer, and 4 alternates.

    • One person must be registered as the Team Captain (captains may choose to assign a co-captain).

    • Minimum age for paddlers is 15 years by April 16 (or first practice session) event date & with parent or guardian permission.

    Contact Amanda Lenar at or (864) 797-7738 for more information.

    For Frequently Asked Questions (coming soon!)


    Each team participates in at least two race heats. Winners of the preliminary heats advance to the championships later in the afternoon. Each team can also decorate their tent for submission into the best tailgate design theme contest. Team tent creativity in the tent village is amazing.

    Other team benefits include:
    Professionally set-up team tent
    Free team access to Countybank Tent Village
    Team signage
    Team T-Shirts
    Team photo
    Dragon Boat Festival web access
    One team practice night

    • Each team can participate in a racing how-to seminar and two hours of practice time during the week of the festival, and a minimum of two races.
    • Each race is on a 220-meter straight course.
    • Racing divisions will be determined from the combined times of the morning and afternoon races.
    • The teams will be ranked according to combined times and then grouped into three competitive divisions with an equal number of teams in each division.
    • The three fastest teams in each division will have the opportunity to race each other for their division championship.
    • In addition to crowning the festival champion, there will be recognition of winners in various categories.
    • No equipment is necessary; everything will be supplied. Just bring your team!

    Joining a Team? Captains ask for team members:
    A dragon boat team can be formed from any group of people: colleagues, neighbors, friends, members of an organization, etc. A group of breast cancer survivors in Vancouver, Canada, formed a dragon boat team called Abreast in a Boat, inspiring similar teams in many other locations. Be creative in forming a team; it's a great experience for everyone involved. Our deadline for team registration March 31, 2015 and our 40 team spots will sell out fast. Reserve your spot today, and use the Dragon Boat website to register your team members. All registration should be done online:

    1. Join your team
    2. Agree to the participant waiver
    3. Provide all contact information
    4. Choose your T-shirt size
    5. Choose your donation commitment

    Team Challenges
    Fund raising is a team effort. Every paddler can help raise money for cancer research. Most teams raise more than the required $2,500 through supportive friends or matching donations. Special awards go to the top fund-raising team!

    Technique Information

    • Teams first do exercises to warm up.
      The boats are about 42 feet long, 3.5 feet wide, and weigh about 550 pounds.
    • It will take about two to three minutes to complete the race.
    • The front paddlers are the main focal point of the boat; everyone paddles off their lead. That is where you get your major timing and speed. The drummer gets the cadence off the lead paddlers. The noise gets the team motivated, and spectators get excited about the race.
    • If the team spirit is high and your synchronization is like a well-oiled machine, you will be a winner.
    • The start of the race can make or break the race. The idea is to have eight fast choppy strokes to get your boat up on plane. After 20 strokes, you should have the speed so you can sit back into a mode to pull you through the middle of the race until the end. You should have enough energy to do a short sprint to the finish line.

    You will want to practice your "power counts" together. This is where you get your technique and timing down. It's done by keeping in sync with the lead paddlers and counting with them, 1 to10, all in a strong cadence. You keep counting 1 to10 faster and faster until you get to a speed that you want to carry through the center of the course, leaving some energy for your final sprint. The drummer takes the cadence off the lead paddlers to maintain a smooth stroke in the middle part of the race.

    The strokes you take with the paddle can be quick and shallow, or longer and deeper. You will want to determine when to use each, and for how long, depending on your overall strategy. The placement of your inside elbow can make a difference in the power of your stroke, as will your hand placement.

    Enjoy! Move Over Cancer... I'm Paddling!

    CLICK HERE for fundraising and donation collection process and helpful tips.

    About Dragon Boat Upstate Festival
    The Dragon Boat Upstate Festival, now in its sixth year, raises thousands of dollars and hosts more than 1,500 visitors and team members during the event. Paddlers, volunteers and supporters enjoy a day at the lake while supporting cancer research and other cancer services in the Upstate.


    Help Files

    Special Thanks to:
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