September 10, 2010, Wonderful Festival in Philadelphia Starts the Summer

June 5

Article and photos by Hillary Shemin

June 5th, 2010 was the 4th annual Independence Dragon Boat Festival celebrated along Kelly Drive in Philadelphia on the Schuylkill River. The Independence Dragon Boat Regatta is scheduled for the first Saturday in June each year. Philadelphia is home of The Philadelphia Dragon Boat Association which is world renowned as a powerful championship team, having been founded in 1983.

dragon boat head from the philadelphia regatta

A dragon boat head from the Philadelphia Regatta. All photos for this article were shot by and are copyright Hillary Shemin. More of Hillary's photos of the regatta can be seen in her race gallery.

The IDBR is not only a training ground for new dragon boat racers, but a fundraiser for the Philadelphia Dragon Boat Association as well as its beneficiaries of US military Veterans and the Philadelphia Police Athletic League. This Independence Dragon Boat Regatta is similar to the Philadelphia International Dragon Boat Festival held each fall, but participants the IDBR have the unique opportunity to be coached by one of the Philadelphia Dragon Boat Association veteran National and World championship paddlers. This year saw a huge jump in participation. The teams had members ranging in age from 11-65 years of age. The IDBR is a wonderful opportunity for new dragon boat racers to be trained by champions.

philadelphia dragon boat race team

A race team on the water.

philadelphia dragon boat race team

Another race team on the water.

This was the first time I had ever witnessed this event and was enthralled with the thousands of onlookers who picnicked on the shore line along with the participating teams in a full day of heat after heat of races. I enjoyed photographing the paddlers as well as the crowd in what was an exciting and energized full day festival. One of the most exciting aspects was to see the inclusion of inner city kids on teams. They would never have had the opportunity to be boating on the Schulkill River if it weren't for the IDBR and the wonderful outreach of the Philadelphia Police Athletic League giving them this option for a healthy and safe activity. It was a great day for everyone!

philadelphia dragon boat racers

More racers at the Philadelphia Dragon Boat Festival and Regatta

philadelphia dragon boat race team

One last photo of a Dragon Boat team at the Philadelphia regatta. Photos by Hillary Shemin.

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