Dragons on the go!
April 16, 2013
LACEY, Wash. – Brightly colored dragon boats and 32 local and
regional teams vying to paddle those vessels to victory will return
to Budd Bay Inlet in Olympia Saturday, April 27, for a day of
fun and fierce competition at the 8th annual
Saint Martin’s Dragon Boat Festival.
More than 4,000 people are expected to attend this year’s festival,
which will take place 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., at Port Plaza in Budd Inlet.
The day-long event, presented by the University in cooperation with the
Washington Dragon Boat
Association, is free and open to the public. Some 750 participants
will paddle their way through the annual Dragon Boat Races as part of
the day’s activities. The paddlers are members of teams from universities,
high schools, school districts, government agencies, community
organizations and local businesses, hailing from Seattle to Portland.
Dragon boat racing dates back to fourth-century China, commemorating
famed poet Qu Yuan, who threw himself into 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.
“Friendly competition and having fun while learning about another
culture’s time-honored traditions make the Dragon Boat Festival an
eagerly anticipated event for the University and surrounding communities,”
says Josephine Yung, Saint Martin’s vice president of international
programs and development.
Saint Martin’s University has been actively involved in education and
cultural exchanges with China since 1995. Each year, members of Saint
Martin’s faculty travel to China to teach international business, accounting
and general education courses. Saint Martin’s students regularly participate
in China study tours and internship opportunities in Shanghai, Hong Kong and
Zhuhai. In addition, about 50 students from China are currently studying at
Saint Martin’s University.
Following welcoming remarks at 9 a.m. by Saint Martin’s University
President Roy Heynderickx, Ph.D., and Rick Panowicz, honorary chair of
the Dragon Boat Steering Committee, the festival will kick off at 9:10
a.m. with the traditional “Dotting of the Eye” ceremony, a blessing of
the dragon boats. The races will begin at 9:45 a.m., and will consist
of three heats and three divisions. The participating teams include
the competitive division teams of Paddles of Fury and Wasabi Kraken;
the intermediate teams of Seattle Flying Dragons and Sun Dragons
Paddling Club; and the community teams of City of Tumwater and Apple
Therapy Dragons. The festival will be broadcasted by 94.5 ROXY.
In addition to the races, there will be Chinese traditional art
demonstrations, martial arts performances and music. A lion dance
will take place between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. The competitions
will conclude at approximately 5 p.m., and the closing and awards
ceremony will begin shortly after the races end.
Organizations throughout the Puget Sound area and beyond are
supporting the Dragon Boat Festival, including: Port of Olympia;
the cities of Lacey, Olympia and Tumwater; 94.5 ROXY; the Academy
of International Education (AIE); Associated Students of Saint
Martin’s University (ASSMU); Puget Sound Energy; Olympia Federal
Savings; Print NW; Thurston County Visitor and Convention
Bureau; Thurston County Chamber of Commerce; Thurston County
Economic Development Council; Olympia Area Chinese Fellowship;
U.S. Commercial Services of Seattle and Tacoma; Washington
State Department of Commerce; Washington State China Relations
Council and World Trade Center, Tacoma.
For more information about this event, visit
or contact the Office of International Programs and
Development at 360-438-4504.
Saint Martin’s University is an independent four-year,
coeducational university located on a wooded campus of more than 300
acres in Lacey, Washington. Established in 1895 by the Catholic
Order of Saint Benedict, the University is one of 14 Benedictine
colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and the
only one west of the Rocky Mountains. Saint Martin’s University
prepares students for successful lives through its 23 majors and
seven graduate programs spanning the liberal arts, business,
education, nursing and engineering. Saint Martin’s welcomes more
than 1,100 undergraduate students and 400 graduate students from
many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its Lacey campus, and 300
more undergraduate students to its extension campuses located at
Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Centralia College. Visit the Saint
Martin’s University website at
For additional information:
Office of International Programs and Development
Meg Nugent Dwyer
Media relations manager