Dragon boat races were added to the already popular food truck festival along New Haven’s Long Wharf Pier, Saturday.
Ten teams signed up to row row row their boats along Long Wharf Pier, from the city workers on the “Municipaddlers” to the New Haven Bike Club which made up the Wheel Good Paddlers. Each race took less than a minute from start to finish.
“When you put 20 people in a boat jammed together side by side and they start paddling, water’s flying everywhere,” said John Pescatore, President of the Canal Dock Boathouse, Incorporated which sponsored the event.
To race dragon boats, you need 20 paddlers, someone to steer, and someone to keep the beat. The drummers wore elaborate costumes to catch the eye of their paddlers.
The New Haven Bike Club’s cycling prowess paid off for the Wheel Good Paddlers, who won the first race
“There’s actually a lot of leg work that goes into rowing these boats you really gotta push them with your legs when you’re paddling so we think we have the advantage on that,” said Kristin Anderson, Wheel Good Paddlers.
None of the participants had done a dragon race before. The SARGENT LOCKness MONSTERS made sure to get their oars in the water early and practice ahead of time.
“We were the first in the water in New Haven Connecticut to do a dragon boat race. We were the first boat in the water, ever,” said Zaya Oshana, of SARGENT LOCKness MONSTERS.
Rowers say they were there to win, but more importantly to have fun.
“I love the water. I love paddling,” said John Bianchi, another member of Wheel Good Paddlers.
The event made a splash with spectators.
“I think it’s great. I didn’t know what to expect but I thought it was really cool,” said Anthony Pulino of New Haven.
“Great sense of camaraderie, team work, and from my perspective community building, team spirit. I think that’s really the best part,” added Pescatore.