Parade of Teams & Opening Ceremony begin 9 am Saturday

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On the outskirts of Oriental, the large River Dunes marina, known as Grace Harbor, is considered one of the pre-eminent Dragon Boat Racing venues in the entire southeast United States – ideal for a 300 meter, four-lane course.

Look closely! You’ll see some home-grown talent among the red-shirted Oriental Dragon Boat Club – always a local crowd favorite!

 By Flora Moorman

RIVER DUNES — This Festival, now in its eighth year, exemplifies the true ‘Spirit’ that it takes to make a ‘difference’ in our community. Separate events for charities, nonprofits, and other worthy organizations always cost money and effort to produce!

The Oriental Dragon Boat Race & Festival exists to allow our teams – each supporting different causes – to raise funds without the burden of massive overhead!

One example (and I will discuss others) of support is generated from Festival spectators. We urge every spectator (admission is free) to bring one or more items of canned food for the hardworking pantry known as Fishes & Loaves. And, we are pretty darn sure that our goal this year of 1,500 pounds will be met!


A couple of heartwarming stories come to mind from last year:

First, the local ‘Dragons with a Cause’ Cancer Survivor Team had a young child who wanted to drum on the boat. This child was autistic and had her own drum. The team decided how important it would be to enable this youngster to experience a ‘once in a lifetime opportunity!’

Since the drummer sets the paddling pace for the entire 20-person team, the group understood that having a new drummer would likely affect their performance. To offset any possible disadvantage, they agreed – as a team – that when the new recruit hit the drum, the first two paddlers in the front of the boat would call out ‘Stroke!’ Then the middle of the boat ‘Stroke!” and at the back of the boat ‘Stroke!’

Thanks to this amazing team! They supported this young lady, and she enjoyed the ‘gift of success’ as a real life drummer for an official Dragon Boat Team. Everyone Wins!

Second, the Cancer Survivor Team from Beaufort, S.C. helped to award medals to the Military Men & Women Dragon Boat Teams. Several of the Cancer Survivors said they felt they were blessed when these young men and women thanked The Survivors for having the GUTS to Paddle with a Cause.

This Festival could not possibly happen without the incredibly generous support of our “Community Outreach Partners” who help in every way – allowing a variety of worthy organizations to raise funds and make a difference!

Our “Community Outreach Partners” this year are: River Dunes, Radio Stations WRNS 95.1 and Bob 93.3, PotashCorp Aurora, Riverside Mitsubishi, Carolina East Health Systems, Deaton Yacht Service, the Town of Oriental, Trader Construction, Kinetico Water Treatment, Small Business Center of Pamlico Community College, S&F Toilet Rentals of New Bern, Playtime Bounce House Party Store of New Bern, Pamlico Amateur Radio Society of Oriental, Zoey Zaleta of Offshore Rafting in conjunction along with Jim Edwards Sailing School for use of “The Beast” chase boat, Southeast Volunteer Fire Department, Pamlico County Rescue Squad, and Pamlico County Recreation Department.

Also, special ‘Shout Outs’ to two new businesses who will be on hand at the Festival to explain how they benefited from free services offered by the PCC Small Business Center: Deborah Toler of Pamlico Antiques and Design; and Darrell Foster of Foster’s Mobile Marine Service.

Thanks, also, to this year’s teams:

Oriental Dragon Masters: Our local Dragon Boat Club Team
Charleston Dragon Boat: Cancer Survivor Team
Charlotte Fury: Dragon Boat Club team with many honors
Pamlico Community College: First Year participants as a Community College Team
Dragons with a Cause: Our local Cancer Survivor Support Team supporting the ‘Fit Forever’ program with Journey of Hope at Village Health & Fitness Club
Warp Speed: From New Bern, this team supports the Colonial Capital Humane Society No Kill Shelter for animals
River Dunes: Our Local River Dunes Team, supporting HeartWorks
Economic Driving Dragons: The Pamlico County Chamber of Commerce will not be with us, but the group continues sits support of behalf of the Community
Fossil Floaters: PotashCorp Aurora Team, known for their ‘come from behind finishes’ and our biggest ‘Community Outreach Partner’
Neuse Winds Freedom Riders: Supported by Dr. Weinreich & Wife
Salty Serpents: Supported PotashCorp
Chesty Pullers: Supported Carolina East Health System
Devil Dogs: Supported by Karen and John Deaton

Special thanks to Oriental residents Frank & Jennifer Roe for their annual, broad-based, and generous support for many facets of the teams that are participating in the Race & Festival.

Community volunteers are also due plenty of recognition: Jill Bradshaw, Peggy McDonald, Irma Fay Bond, Jeanne Robertson, and our visiting contingent from the Ms. North Carolina Senior America Cameo Club & Queens!

Please join us on Saturday, Aug. 12. We have individual slots available on existing teams. Text (252) 675-9424, or e-mail



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