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Bayou DeSiard Dragon Boat Festival

By Melanie Moffett
In Bayou Scene
Jun 26th, 2014

The boats returned to Bayou DeSiard for another year, in what has quickly become one of Monroe’s signature events. The Third Annual Bayou DeSiard Dragon Boat Festival was held May 17, and thousands turned out to watch more than ten teams compete for the top prize–bragging rights as the top Dragon Boat team of the year.

The Bayou DeSiard Dragon Boat Festival is organized each year to raise funds for a local charity. Festival organizer Ashley Yeldell said this year’s charity was PAWS of Northeast Louisiana. “Last year, the proceeds went to Monroe Renaissance for the revitalization and beautification of downtown Monroe, and we’re excited to give to PAWS this year, as they continue to raise money needed for a community spay and neuter clinic.”

The ancient sport of dragon boat racing originated in China. Teams of 20 rowers follow the lead of the drummer and captain to be the fastest boat in “heats”–races following a specific course where the winner is determined by best time. This year, bragging rights went to the Gorilla Fitness “Team Willpower” crew, who finished the final heat with a blazing hot time of just 56 seconds.