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Off to the Races: The Colorado Dragon Boat Festival

Yearly Colorado Dragon Boat FestivalColorado is one of the country’s biggest melting pots. Many cultures have put down roots here in CO, but the Asian Pacific American (APA) community maintains one of the strongest presences.

In honor of the rich heritage of the APA community, both here in Colorado and beyond, our great state is proud to host the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival yearly at Sloan’s Lake Park.

Each year the festival gets a little bit bigger and better, and this year will be no different!

The Evolution of the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival

Dragon BoatsIn 2001, the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival (CDBF) was conceived by three of the Denver area’s most prominent Asian leaders. They were themselves astounded by the growth and prosperity of their community and wanted to showcase it for all to enjoy.

  • 2001: Year one started strong with 16,000 people in attendance. The five food vendors on the ticket were gleefully surprised. Even with supply runs back to their shops, they still ended up running out of eats in the afternoon!
  • 2015: The festival, having been expanded from one day to two, now garnered 125,000 attendees. The event became the biggest Dragon Boat Festival in the country, beating out every other major city.
  • 2019: Attendance is expected to grow yet again. To accommodate this, festival-goers will now enjoy 20 food vendors, two food courts, five performance stages, and so much more.

When and Where?

Colorado Dragon Boat Festival Location

Even with all the changes over the years, the location always remained the same. Sloan’s Lake Park in Denver is the home base of the CDBF, and perhaps always will be.

This year, the festival will be held on July 27th and 28th. On both days, races start at 8 a.m. sharp. In addition to races, over 100 performances are expected over the duration of the event. Connect with the festival on Facebook to see who will be performing.

Dragon Boat Racing: An Ancient Art

Dragon Boat RacingThe sport of Dragon Boat racing, which involves long, narrow boats powered by a host of paddlers, dates back over 2,000 years.

The sport—more a cultural tradition than mere athletics—finds its roots with the poet and warrior Chu Yuan. Once an aid to the Chinese Emperor, Chu Yuan was unjustly banished from the court after the Emperor’s death. His long journey eventually ended at the Mi Lo River, where his followers gathered with their paddles and drums in his honor.

From this monumental event, the tradition of Dragon Boat Racing was born.

Celebrate One of the World’s Most Revered Cultures

Being one of the oldest and most celebrated cultures in the world, the Asian culture is wide-ranging and rife with tradition. We’re lucky enough to get to lift it up yearly at the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival. Join us this year for two days full of sport and fun!

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