Event celebrates colorful Asian culture
Lake Lanier Olympic Park (LLOP) will play host to a colorful Hong Kong tradition during the 22nd annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival, which will be held 7 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturday, September 9, 2017. The oldest and most traditional dragon boat festival in Georgia, the occasion will feature activities for the whole family at the crown jewel of Lake Lanier’s watersport venues–LLOP, a world-class sporting and special events facility, 45 minutes northeast of downtown Atlanta.
The festivities will feature lions and dragon performances, multicultural dancers, traditional arts and crafts, international street foods and raffle prizes that include four round-trip tickets to Asia, provided by Delta Air Lines.
With a record number of more than 70 well-trained teams and more than 500 participants competing from across the U.S., this year’s festival is notable in its scale and fierce competition.
“This event is the best team building experience for any participating groups. Teams will learn to work together and have fun together,” said Gene Hanratty, the founder and festival organizer.
This year’s corporate team race looks to be a good one, with 16 corporate teams joining to race for their companies.
There are also collegiate, high schools, non-profits and cancer survivor races.
The festival has attracted a diverse audience of more than 8,000 attendees annually for the past 10 years.
The opening ceremony will be held at noon to kick off the multicultural celebration. It will feature traditional lion dances, Taiko drums performers, classical Laotian dancers, Bollywood dancers and much more.
The festival is organized by the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival with support from Hong Kong Association and Lanier Canoe and Kayaking Club. The presenting sponsor of the annual event is the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in New York.
The Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival is free, open to the public and will take place rain or shine. Parking is $10 per vehicle.
Major sponsors of the 2017 festival include Harrahs Cherokee Casinos, UPS, Delta Airlines, NACA, AT&T, Kimberley-Clark, Farmer’s Baskets, Home Depot and Georgia Asian Times.
In September of 2018, LLOP will host the International Canoe Federation Dragon Boat World Championships. Athletes from over 25 countries will gather to compete in traditional canoes adorned with dragon’s heads and tails while also celebrating the cultural heritage of this deeply symbolic Asian heritage event. This competition will be the largest world gathering of athletes in the area since the Centennial Olympic Games in 1996.
If you go
Beyond experiencing the thrill of the Championships, spectators in the area can also enjoy the attractions, shopping and dining this world-class destination has to offer. The surrounding area, with its Southern and Appalachian heritage, boasts a rich and diverse blend of museums, attractions and annual events that help round out the destination as a year-round choice for travelers. Enjoy zip lines and canopy tours, equestrian trails, hiking and biking while taking in the areas’ farm markets and main street shops. Lanier Islands Resort is the primary lodging destination with hotel, villa, lake house and camping accommodations. Here you’ll find a white sand beach, water park with slides and wave pool, a wide variety of dining and entertainment options, as well as many special events held year-round. Visit www.DiscoverLakeLanier.com for more details about what to do and where to stay.
For more information on the 2017 Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival, visit www.DragonBoatAtlanta.com.