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Dragons Racing Down the Bayou

Mike Leone,
Dragon boat races originated in Southern China and are believed to have been held annually for over 2,000 years.

The 7th Annual Bayou Desiard Dragon Boat Festival is May 12 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Bayou Desiard at the corner of Loop Road and Forsythe in Monroe.

The opening ceremony is at 11 a.m. The Neville High School Band parades in the boat race teams. This year, the race features 27 teams, 9 of which are made of all youth rowers. The race then takes off at 12 p.m. Each boat has 20 rowers, lead by a drummer in the front of the boat. The drummer helps the rowers to keep a steady rhythm. Attendees can vote for their favorite team in the People's Choice Award Competition under the Children's Coalition tent.

"You're in the water for about three minutes, but it's the longest three minutes I've ever rowed," says Dr. Lynn Clark, Executive Director of the Children's Coalition. Proceeds from the event go towards the Children's Coalition, a non-profit organization dedicated to creating communities where children and families thrive.

The morning kicks off with a boot camp from INFIT Gym and a family health care fair featuring free healthcare screening and activities for children. Paddle H2O is giving paddleboard demonstrations at the dock all morning. Blue Sky Yoga is hosting an outdoor yoga class at 10:30 a.m., followed by a zumba class with MisFit1 at 11 a.m. Food trucks and children's activities are available all day.

More information about the Dragon Boat Festival is available here.