Even though you may have seen some dragon boating in the back bay of Atlantic City, the Gilda’s Club South Jersey Dragon Boat Festival is a first of its kind in Atlantic City, so let me tell you a little more about dragon boats and why you should line up a team now to compete in July.

Dragon Boating is easy to learn, extremely safe, and an activity where men and women compete side by side towards the same goal. Regardless how old, young, big or little: once a paddler is in stroke, they are contributing to their team! Add the outdoors, the water, the visual spectacle of dragon boating and you get a perfect activity for corporate team building, or a school outing!


The origin of Dragon Boat Racing dates back over 2000 years to the Chinese legend of Qu Yuan, a 4th-century statesman, poet, and advisor to the king.  Qu Yuan was exiled from the ancient state of Chu after his advice to the king was misinterpreted as an attempt to assume greater political power.  For his offense, Qu Yuan was banished to a remote area of Hunan Province in southern China.

The dishonor of being exiled was a heavy burden on Qu Yuan.  Under the weight of his sorrow, he threw himself into the torrents of the Milou River – but some local fishermen raced out onto the water to save the drowning Qu Yuan.  The fishermen wildly beat their drums and splashed the water with their paddles to prevent the water dragons and fish from eating Qu Yuan.

The modern Dragon Boat Race is based upon a traditional re-enactment of the race to save Qu Yuan.  Over the centuries, village fishing boats went out each year in a symbolic search, and began to take part in races that evolved into Dragon Boat Racing’s present form.

Please join us on July 9, 2016 for this inaugural Festival to benefit Gilda’s Club South Jersey at Bader Field in Atlantic City!

At Gilda’s Club South Jersey, individuals and families are receiving the information, guidance, laughter, and most importantly, the support they need to live their lives with cancer, whatever the outcome, at no cost.

A dragon boat team must have a minimum 20 paddlers plus a drummer. It is highly recommended that at least 8 paddlers be female, in boat, not including the drummer. Now is the time to register!  Prices will go up on April 1st.

Who, What, When, Where, Why

  • Saturday, July 9th from 9 AM-5 PM at Bader Field in Atlantic City
  • The festival proceeds benefit Gilda’s Club South Jersey.
  • Absolutely no experience is necessary to participate.
  • Excellent Corporate Team Building day or school outing!
  • Team composition: Recommended about 21-24 participants per team, minimum of 8 female paddlers in the boat for every race and the minimum age is 12.
  • In addition to race day, teams will receive one practice session the week of the Festival

Pricing: Early Registration Fees (before April 1, 2016)

  1. Corporate –$1,920/boat or $80/person (changes to $2,400 on 4.1.16)
  2. Community –$1,440/boat or $60/person (changes to $1,800 on 4.1.16)
  3. Club (Survivor & Supporter) AND Student –$960/boat or $40/person (changes to $1,080 on 4.1.16)

More information about types of teams/boats when you click Register!

Prizes will be awarded for:

  • Team Spirit (songs, cheers, dances, etc.)
  • Best Team Costumes
  • Best Decorated Tent
  • Top Fundraising Team
  • Top Fundraising Individual
  • Medals to the winners of each of the Championship Divisions

Click here for more information and to register for the Gilda’s Club South Jersey Dragon Boat Festival or call Gilda’s Club South Jersey at 609-926-2699.

Check out this short video for a good introduction to the fun of dragon boating!