Martin’s fifth Dragon Boat Festival set for April 25 at Port Plaza

March 12, 2010

Lacey, Washington —
Martin’s University will host the fifth annual Dragon Boat Festival on Sunday, April 25. This year the festival will take place at Port Plaza in downtown Olympia. The festival, presented by
Martin’s in cooperation with the Washington Dragon Boat Association, will feature 24 teams and is expected to draw 4,000 spectators from throughout the Pacific Northwest. The event, which runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., is free and open to the public.

This year’s Dragon Boat lineup features paddling talent from several colleges, universities, government agencies, and community organizations. Also participating in the event are many local and regional teams. Teams from the Cities of Tumwater and Olympia are preparing to compete against each other as well.

Martin’s is proud to once again host this event, bringing together members of the local and international communities for a unique, ancient form of competition,” says Haley Thompson,
Martin’s director of international programs.

Dragon boat racing dates back to fourth-century China, commemorating famed poet, Qu Yuan, who threw himself in the Milo River to protest the political turmoil and suffering of the people at that time. Today, dragon boat races are an opportunity to celebrate culture and community.

The event kicks off at 9 a.m. with the “Dotting of the Eye” ceremony, a blessing of the dragon boats, a lion dance, and procession of the teams. The races consist of three heats and two divisions, beginning at 10 a.m. and continuing until 3:30 p.m. The closing and awards will take place at 4 p.m.

Martin’s University has been actively involved in education and cultural exchanges with China since 1995. Each year, members of
Martin’s faculty travel to China to teach international business, accounting, and general education courses.
Martin’s students regularly participate in China study tours and internship opportunities in Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Zhuhai. In addition, about 45 students from China are currently studying at

The Dragon Boat Challenge is supported by a number of organizations throughout the Puget Sound area, including the Cities of Lacey, Olympia and Tumwater; the Thurston County Visitor and Convention Bureau; the Olympia Area Chinese Fellowship; the Thurston County Chamber; the Thurston County Economic Development Council; the U.S. Commerce Service, Seattle; the Washington China Relations Council; and the Washington State Department of Commerce. In addition, many individuals including students from
Martin’s University contributed to make this year’s festival possible.

For more information about this event, visit: or call Haley Thompson at 360-438-4598.

Martin’s University is an independent four-year, Catholic, coeducational university located on a 380-acre wooded campus in Lacey, Washington. Established in 1895 by the Catholic Order of
Benedict, the University is one of 18 Benedictine colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and the only one west of the Rocky Mountains.
Martin’s University prepares students for successful lives through its 21 majors and six graduate programs spanning the liberal arts, business, education and engineering.
Martin’s welcomes 1,250 students from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its main campus, and 650 more to its extension campuses located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Everett College, Centralia College, and Tacoma Community College.

For additional information:

Haley Thompson
Director of international programs
Martin’s University

Genevieve Canceko Chan
Director of communications & marketing
Martin’s University