Dragon Boat Races heat up Red River May 10

Photo courtesy Alexandria Museum of Art
Tuesday, May 6, 2014 - 2:19pm

The Alexandria Museum of Art (AMoA) and the Louisiana Dragon Boat Races Committee announces the 4th annual Louisiana Dragon Boat Races will take place Saturday, May 10, 2014, on the Red River in downtown Alexandria. The proceeds benefit the Alexandria Museum of Art (AMoA), its exhibitions, and educational programs.

Dragon Boat Racing originated in China more than 2,500 years ago and has long been their national sport. In North America, it has grown from relative obscurity 20 years ago, to more than 1,000 annual events with millions of participants.

AMoA introduced dragon boat racing to central Louisiana in 2011, and the event has continued to grow each year. In 2013, the races became part of AlexRiverFete, a free family festival celebrating the arts, culture, and heritage of central Louisiana. The combined events drew a crowd of more than 10,000 attendees and 1,000 race participants. Together, the races and the festival make for a great day of food, music, art, spirited racing, and a great time -- on and off the water!

Dragon boat racing is visually spectacular, easy to learn, and inclusive of age, gender, or athletic ability. Racing teams consist of 20 high-spirited paddles (a minimum of 8 must be female) and one costumed drummer. Men and women compete together in a fun, unbiased environment. This exciting sport has become a popular team-building activity for community organizations and corporations.

Sponsors for the 2014 races are Alexandria/Pineville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Boise Cascade, Central Louisiana Home Health & Hospice, Central Louisiana Surgical Hospital, Christus St. Frances Cabrini Hospital, Cleco, Jena Choctaw Pines Casino, MidSouth Bank, Rapides Regional Medical Center, Red River Bank, T&D Solutions, and Walker Automotive.

Awakening of the Dragons
There will be an “Awakening of the Dragon” ceremony Thursday, May 8, 2014 at 1:30 p.m. at the Levee Amphitheater on the Red River. Representatives from each of the presenting sponsors will paint “eyes” of the dragon heads that are featured prominently on each boat. This symbolizes the beginning of the annual races in central Louisiana.

Art Bikes by Katrina Brees Interactive Art Exhibition
Six bicycles by artist Katrina Brees are transformed into larger-than-life animals and will roll throughout downtown and along the levee and amphitheater on May 9 and 10. Winners of the raffle drawing held on Monday, May 5, will have the opportunity to show off this moving exhibition in 8 different Art Bike parades. The parades will be held at 5pm, 6:30pm and 7:45 p.m. on Friday, May 9, and at 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 10. Festival goers will also be able to have a photo taken with these fabulous creations in the parking lot of AMoA throughout the day. The Art Bike parades are sponsored by Rusty and Tina Baker, Joy Hodges and Randalle and Pat Moore.
Brees is a New Orleans-based parade artist whose work has been in more than 200 parades in the last decade. Brees' eco-friendly, live entertainment, costumes, floats and throws have been seen on CNN, MTV, NBC and countless films and commercials.

Children/Family art activities
AMoA will provide several activities to children and families on race day:

  • The Prayer Flag Project – Museum educators and volunteers will tell all about how the tradition of prayer flags, or dar cho, began thousands of years ago in Tibet. A word of prayer or intention is written on the colorful, illustrated flag. It is said that the wind carries the prayer from the flag and blesses those who it touches. Come and create a colorful flag with a positive word and an illustration called a mandala. The flags will be collected, sewn together and will fly at the Louisiana Dragon Boat Races for years to come!
  • Hat Making – Stay cool in the summer sun, by making your own paper hat. Join Museum educators and volunteers to experiment with various styles and create a one of a kind fashion statement.
  • Face Painting -- Museum volunteers are available all day to adorn your child’s face with a variety of delightful designs.

Special entertainment at 11:30 a.m. on race day includes a concert by the Kaminari Taiko Japanese drumming ensemble from Houston, Texas. Their mesmerizing performance features Kaminari’s dynamic style, inspired by both traditional Japanese themes and compelling, original and world rhythms. Kaminari Taiko uses an arsenal of more than 30 professional quality taiko (drums) including the most powerful taiko in the world. The explosive taiko performance is sponsored by the Arts Council of Central Louisiana and TicketCentral. It promises to rock the Alexandria amphitheater with its forceful stage excitement and a thundering show you might measure on the Richter scale.

Photo Contest
Bring your camera and find those perfect shots that express and capture the revelry of the day! Enter your work for an opportunity to exhibit at AMoA and receive awards. Entry fee is $20.00 for up to three images. Check or money order mailed or dropped off and enclose CD or email images to: amanda@themuseum.org. Photograph submission deadline: May 30, 2014.

Free Guided Tours
At 10am on Saturday, May 10, AMoA Curator Megan Valentine will lead a free tour of the exhibitions, Dueling Visions of Liberty: Depictions of the American Civil War, Theo Tobiasse: Textural Emergence and Christopher Sims: Theater of War. At 2:00 p.m., Carlos Villaseñor Anaya (bilingual), International Consultant and expert in Cultural Development and Cultural Policy, will lead a Spanish-language tour of exhibitions.
Those who would like to participate in each tour will meet at the Museum patio, off the levee ramp on Murray Street.

Race Day Schedule
8:30 a.m. ► Opening Ceremony
9:00 a.m. ► First Round of Races
11:30 a.m. ► Kaminari Taiko Drummers concert
12:30 p.m. ► Second Round of Races
3:00 p.m. ► Drummers’ Style Show
3:30 p.m. ► Final Round of Races
4:00 p.m. ► Awards Ceremony

To find out more about how to participate or be on a boat team, AMoA at 318-443-3458 or go online to www.themuseum.org or www.louisianadragonboatraces.com.


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