On Saturday, June 27, thousands of visitors are expected to attend the 15th Annual Chicago Dragon Boat Race for Literacy. The event, organized by the Chicago Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, will take place at Ping Tom Memorial Park, 300 West 19th Street along the south branch of the Chicago River in Chinatown.
Thirty teams will compete on the Chicago River in beautifully decorated dragon boats, each consisting of 20 members: 18 paddlers, 1 drummer and 1 flag catcher. The 18 paddlers, each with an oar, row to the beat of the drummer, while the flag catcher of each team pulls a flag positioned in the water at the finish line. The top 2 winning teams will race for the championship. Races begin at 8 am. The Opening Ceremony begins with a Lion Dance at 9 am.
In addition to the boat tournament, the day will consist of children’s activities, entertainment programming throughout the day including an appearance by Southpaw of the Chicago White Sox, a concert by Vander Cook College of Music and more. Participate in a fun scavenger hunt to learn about Chinatown. A Free Trolley will take visitors from Ping Tom Memorial Park down Wentworth Ave. and looping back throughout the event from 9 am – 4 pm.
The Chinese dragon boat race has a history of over 2,000 years and is a popular sport amongst Chinese-American communities all over the nation. This year’s race will feature thirty teams from corporations and community organizations.
This year’s Dragon Boat Race for Literacy is presented in partnership with the Chicago Park District, Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, Office of 25th Ward Alderman Daniel Solis, Chicago Marine Heritage Society, Canal Street Marina Yacht Yard, Friends of the Chicago River and Mercy Hospital and Medical Center.
A portion of the proceeds from the event are donated to local schools and organizations that help promote literacy. Visitors are encouraged to take public transportation to the event. Public parking will be limited. Chinatown is easily accessible via the CTA Red Line, CTA buses and Chicago Water Taxi which will dock near the race site. The FREE Chinatown Trolley will stop near the CTA Red Line stations and along Wentworth Ave. For further information about the 15th Annual Dragon Boat Race for Literacy, please contact Chicago Chinatown Chamber of Commerce at 312-326-5320, [email protected] or visit www.chicagochinatown.org.