In 2005, responding to an enthusiastic participating teams'support in the ground-breaking Cross Roads Charlotte Project, the Carolinas Asian- American Chamber of Commerce (CAACC) announced the launch of its priority community-building initiative, the Charlotte Dragon Boat Festival. With this planned event only six months away, the Charlotte Dragon Boat Association (CDBA) was formed to focus its resource in its preparation, the first in the Carolinas, during the National Asian Heritage Month of May.
As an integral part of the Chinese Double Fifth Festival, a tradition dating back over 2,300 years, Dragon Boat racing has become the fastest growing flat-water sport in the world, due largely to the effort of the Hong Kong Tourism Association in the World Expo '86 in Vancouver, BC. Its popularity was based on its broad appeal to people who enjoy outdoor activities for wellness, recreation, competition and culture awareness. In our inaugural event in 2006, eighteen community teams raced in Ramsey Creek Park, Cornelius, along with a well attended land program featuring participants from sixteen local Asian communities. With strong community support and in partnership with both public and private organizations, this event has evolved over the years into a 40 plus team affair with 1,000 plus paddlers. And, with the compliment of a well organized cultural program, the festival is probably one of its kind in the Southeast, one that we all are proud of.
Following our successful launch in 2006, a group of newly converted paddlers met in the Summer to explore expanding CDBA into a year-round Dragon Boat club and to promote and engage the community to participate in this cross-cultural activity. From a charter member group of seven, CDBA now over 60 active and 220 plus affiliated members and, along the way, assisted a number of cities and towns in their Dragon Boat events in the Carolinas other states in the Southeast. Our own competitive team, Charlotte Fury, has represented us well in races in the East Coast, nationally, as well as in international races by some of our crew members.
– John C. Chen, Chairman and Founder