Long Beach Tradition: Dragon Boat Races

Make for Marine Stadium for a full weekend of acrobatics, eats, and thrilling on-the-water showdowns.

Make for any lake or river or harbor over the final weekend in July and you're bound to find a bevy of boats, from kayaks and dinghies to large ferries and yachts.

Make for Marine Stadium in Long Beach and you'll come across some of the most beautiful of boats, the dragon boats, as they again sweep across the water's surface in a traditional and thrilling showdown.

The Long Beach Dragon Boat Festival puts oars to waves on Saturday, July 30 and Sunday, July 31, but all the action isn't out upon the H2O. Acrobatic presentations, lion dancers, magic shows, martial arts demos, tasty tidbits for sale, and live tunes will give all of the proceedings on terra firma some fun.

Look to the water, though, to admire a pursuit that has roots in Southern China, roots that stretch back a couple of millennia. The vessels do take on the forms of mythical, scale-covered creatures, while on-board drumming lends percussive excitement to the scene.

As, of course, do the powerful, and powerfully in unison, athletes. Watching the competitors quickly dip and raise their oars to each beat of the drum is one of the visual-aural pleasures of this annual happening.

Need more dragon boat delight? Stay tuned for the LA Dragon Boat Festival, which pushes onto the water in South El Monte in October.

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