Charleston Dragon Boat Festival Handbook

Below is a list of FAQ’s by participants or those considering participation in the Charleston Dragon Boat Festival. If your question is not answered here, please call Meagan at 843-324-9505 or email

It is mandatory for all new teams to attend the New Team Orientation at Mrs. Rose's (West Ashley) on Thursday, February 2, 2017 at 6pm.

What is the date of the festival? – May 6, 2017. Approximately 8am to 4pm – exact times TBD.

Where is the festival? – Brittlebank Park, off of Lockwood Dr.

How much does it cost to participate – Each team pays a registration fee of $850. Additionally, each paddler commits to raising at least $50 through his/her network of friends and family. Paddlers who raise $100+ will receive a medal. The victorious team and individual who raises the most money wins glory, accolades, a trophy, free registration and lots of other perks.

Teams that raise over $5,000 get all kinds of perks, ie. choice of tent location, early registration, love, etc.

What does registration include: $850 registration pays for 2 practices (April 24 to May 5), a 10x10 tent at the festival, lifejackets and paddles and steersperson. It does not include tables.

How does a team pay registration?

A team can pay their registration one of three ways: 1) pay the $850 fee online via credit card, 2) pay with a check within two weeks of registering (address below), 3) Each paddler can pay their portion of the registration via credit card on the website ($42.50 per paddler based on 20 paddlers).

To whom should checks be made out: Dragon Boat Charleston or DBC

What is your Tax ID# - 32-0253953

What is the DBC address – 1643 Savannah Hwy. #261, Charleston, SC 29407

Will donors receive acknowledgement of their gift? All online donors will receive an automatic thank you note with tax information via email. If the donor sends a check, he/she will receive a postcard thank you acknowledgement (for gifts over $25). If you receive a cash donation, you can email Meagan the name/amount and address and a thank you card will be sent.

Deadline for cash/check donations – When you receive check donations, record them in the website and send them to DBC, 1643 Savannah Hwy. #261, Charleston, SC 29407 by April 11.

All checks and cash received after April 11 should be turned in the day of the festival.

Can teams bring grills, picnics, etc. – Yes, teams can bring grills, food, drinks, etc. to the race venue. No large coolers. There are food vendors at the festival. Grills must be placed in the nearest “grilling area” to your tent.

Is there a cost to spectate? - No, the festival is free of charge for spectators.

Team make up – Mixed teams must have at least 8 women. Teams should have 20 paddlers and 1 drummer, but it is recommended to have alternates. All paddlers must sign a waiver online or a paper waiver.

***The Charleston Dragon Boat Festival is a community competition for amateur paddlers to raise money for cancer survivor programs. To keep things fair, each team is allowed only 2 Team Paddlers. Team Paddlers are defined as paddlers who are part of a dragon boat club that attends races, a paddler who practices/has practiced regularly or a paddler who has attended a camp/clinic/training. This rule does not apply to cancer survivor teams.***

How do practices work? – Once your team has registered and paid the $850 fee, you will be sent a sign-up link. You will choose two practices from the available list. All paddlers are required to attend at least one practice.

If a member of your team cannot attend any of your team practices, he/she can just show up (no need to call ahead) and jump in another team’s practice.

Drumming Clinics - All teams much have their own drummer. We will offer 2 drumming clinics on Wednesday, April 26 and again on Wednesday, May 3 at 5pm.

Drop off and Set up- We ask that you drop off as much as possible the afternoon of Friday, May 5. There will be overnight security. It makes the morning of the festival much easier.

Tents – all teams will receive a 10x10 tent. Only sponsor teams and high fundraising teams have the option for a 20x20 tent. Tent locations are based on fundraising levels from the previous year. Teams that raised over $5,000 have preference. Only sponsor teams will get a table.

Awards – awards are given to top fundraising team and top individual fundraiser. Awards are also given out for best tent décor, best team t-shirt and overall team spirit. Have fun with it!

Weather – Festival and festival practices are rain or shine. In the case of high winds and/or lightening, all water activity will be cancelled. A “weather hotline” will be set up in time for practice weeks by going to and entering your phone number or email. You will receive a text/email in the case that practices are cancelled. Please get everyone on your team to sign up for rainedout.

What does the money raised go toward? – All of the funds raised by the festival go toward the cancer survivor programs of Dragon Boat Charleston. These funds allow survivors to practice year round, to participate in festivals around the country, to participate in other fitness and nutrition programs like yoga, cross fit and even shag dancing. For a complete list of accomplishments go to and click on News & Accomplishments or go to the festival site, and click on How do donations make a difference.

The City of Charleston Police Department has requested that we tighten our alcohol policy for the festival. You will not be permitted into Brittlebank with HUGE coolers full of alcohol. No hard alcohol allowed in park. No paddling while intoxicated or risk forfeiture. Captains will be responsible for ensuring the sobriety of their paddlers.

RACING – Your team will race three times. It is a 250 meter course. You can paddle “light” with as little as 16 people, but it is not recommended. All paddlers must be over the age of 14. Mixed teams must have 8 women. All paddlers must be sober. You will not know exactly what time you are racing. The schedule for the first heat won’t be emailed out until Friday, May 5.

Tent Map – DBC will post the tent map on the festival website a few days before the festival. Highest fundraising teams from 2016 get their first choice of tent location.


1. The #1 Fundraising Rule is ASK YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY. You will have the most success by sharing your story with those closest to you and explaining to them why this cause is important to you.

2. Use the website. Donations go WAY up when it is as easy and making an online donation. Send the link to your headquarters out on email or facebook and watch the donations roll in.

3. Use Facebook and Twitter! You can reach hundreds of people in just seconds.

4. If your workplace is willing, set up a “casual Friday” and everyone donates $5 to wear jeans on Friday. You can sell coffee and bagels at work that morning and raise even more money.

5. Get your team together and do a car wash, a yard sale, a wine & cheese party, an auction…Get creative! It will help your team bond and raise money.

6. Find a team sponsor…Your favorite restaurant or salon, your dentist or pediatrician. Ask for a “sponsorship” and then put the business’s name/logo on your team banner and shirts!

7. Asking for specific amounts works better than a vague request for "a contribution." Gauge your audience; even those who have less to give will give something if it sounds reasonable. No donation is too small. Welcome the $5 and $10 donations, they add up!

8. Give tangible examples for how much your donors are giving. For example, ask a donor to "Give up one nice dinner out on the town and donate $20" or "Give up going out to see one movie, donate $10."

9. In the past, successful fundraisers have: made huge batches of spaghetti sauce and sold it to friends and coworkers; held oyster roasts and chili cook-offs; raffled bikes, skateboards, and other cool stuff; auctioned beach house vacations; given family photo sessions for every donation over $100. Think about the “resources” on your team and use them to raise money. Can you give surfing lessons? Can you cook?

10. If your team is work-based…Talk to HR and see if you can get employees to donate a portion of their paycheck to your team. For example…Try to get your teammates and colleagues to donate $10 from each paycheck between January 1 and May 1! It will really really add up!!!

11. Last but not least, I’ll say it again and again. ASK THE PEOPLE WHO ARE CLOSEST TO YOU! People who care about you will support you and the causes that you are passionate about. Below is some sample language to use in a letter, but personalize your letter and tell YOUR STORY!

Dear X,

On May 6, 2017 I will be competing in the 10th Annual Charleston Dragon Boat Festival. I will be raising money to support the cancer survivor programs of Dragon Boat Charleston. For the past 12 years, DBC has been providing this “floating support group” through year-round dragon boating, fitness and nutrition programs, and social opportunities for cancer survivors.

The mission of DBC is to promote the mental and physical wellness of cancer survivors through the sport of dragon boating. DBC believes that the sport affords those diagnosed with cancer an opportunity to reclaim their sense of self, feel strong, set long term goals and push the restart button on their lives. Dragon boat paddlers outlive the statistical odds, have improved quality of life and find life-long friends who understand their struggle. Club members compete world-wide, enjoy year-round fitness programs and unbreakable bonds. Through my fundraising efforts, all cancer survivors participate in this life-changing program free of charge.

I hope you will support me as I paddle to support cancer survivorship in my community. Thank you!



Team Check-list

Charleston Dragon Boat Festival

May 6, 2017

____ “Gently” urged all of your paddlers to get fundraising. $50 per paddler is the minimum commitment. Those who raise $100+ get bling!

____Recruited all of your paddlers and a drummer (20 paddlers and a drummer. Mixed teams must have 8 women). No more than 2 “Team Paddlers”, ie. practice/ed regularly with a team, attended camp/clinic, travel to races.

____ Signed up for your 2 practice sessions on SignUpGenius?

____Made sure all of your paddlers have a waiver signed either online, ie. registered on the website

____ Team shirts chosen

____Tent décor chosen. Remember, DBC does not provide tables/chairs, only tents.

____ Food plan for the day of the event

____Drop off and set up plan for Friday, May 5