REGISTRATION and PARTICIPATION

1How do I register?
To join or create a team, go to the Charleston Dragon Boat Festival 2024 home page.
2What does it cost to participate in the festival?
Early bird registration is $800 per team and is open through Jan. 15.

After Jan. 15, the registration fee is $1,000, (or $50/team member).

Each paddler also commits to raising a minimum of $50.

To honor DBC's twenty years of serving cancer survivors, consider asking 20 friends for $20. That's an easy $400 to support our mission programs!

The teams (corporate and community) and the top three individuals raising the most money win glory, accolades, and free registration the following year.
3What does registration include?
The registration fee includes 2 team practices during the two weeks prior to the festival, a 10'x10' tent at the festival, lifejackets, paddles, and steers-person.

Teams raising more than $5,000 by April 5, 2024, may request a 20'x20' tent.
4How does a team pay registration fees?
A team can pay their registration one of three ways: 1) online via credit card, 2) mail a check within two weeks of registering, 3) each paddler pays their portion of the registration via credit card on the website ($50.00 per paddler).

Team captains will receive a promo code if the full team registration is paid. The code should be sent to all team members with instructions to use it for the registration fee. Otherwise, the team member will be unable to register without paying the fee.

There are buttons on the bottom of the Festival Home Page to Form a Team, Join a Team, and to Donate to Teams or Individuals.
5How are teams made up?
All teams, except men's, should have 20 paddlers and one drummer. Men's teams should have 18 paddlers and a drummer. We always recommend having alternates.

All Team Captains must sign a team waiver (available during practice week) that lists everyone on your final roster.

The Charleston Dragon Boat Festival is a community competition for amateur paddlers to raise money for cancer survivor programs. To keep things fair, each team is allowed only two traveling paddlers. Traveling paddlers are defined as, 1) individuals who regularly practice/d with a club team, 2) individuals who have participated in organized races, 3) anyone who has attended a paddling clinic/camp. This rule does not apply to cancer survivor teams on which a minimum of 12 paddlers must be cancer survivors.
6How do practices work?
After the Team Captain’s Meeting, and registration has been completed and paid in full, the team captain will receive a sign-up link for scheduling practices. They will choose two practice sessions from the list. Each session is approximately an hour. All practices are held during the two weeks leading up to the festival.

All paddlers are required to attend at least one practice to ensure they receive safety and paddling instruction.

If a team member cannot attend any of their scheduled practices, they can show up during the practice weeks and join another team’s practice. There's no need to notify us.
7What's the drummer do?
The drummer sits at the bow of the boat and beats to the rhythm of the boat, cheering the team to victory! Many choose to wear a costume, adding to the pageantry of the festival.

All teams must have their own drummer.  We will offer two drumming clinics on 4/24 and 5/1 (Wednesdays).
FESTIVAL CONTACTS

For help with registrations, donations, and practices, contact Sarah Evans.

For help with donations, sponsorships, and festival management, contact Lucy Spears.

FUNDRAISING and DONATIONS

1Why should I fundraise and how is the money used?
Dragon Boat Charleston provides cancer survivors with a support system unlike any other, nourishing the mind, body, and spirit.

All donations support the mission programs of Dragon Boat Charleston. These funds allow cancer survivors to participate FREE OF CHARGE in paddling, health and nutrition programs, and social events throughout the year. It also helps offset the costs of paddlers attending races.
2How do I make a donation?
Donations may be made online by credit card, by mailing a check to DBC, or by cash.

Online donations can be made on the festival web page.

Checks should be made to Dragon Boat Charleston and mailed to 1643 Savannah Hwy #261, Charleston, SC 29407. Be sure to include the name of the fundraiser to credit.

Cash donations are accepted on the day of the festival. Cash must be received by 10 a.m. on May 4 to be included in the totals for fundraising awards.

Festival donations are accepted through May 31 and count towards fundraising goals.
3What's the deadline for festival donations?
Festival donations are accepted through May 31, and will count towards your fundraising goal.

Fundraising awards will be based on the donations received by 10 a.m. on May 4. Any cash or checks received after May 1 should be turned in at the festival by 10 a.m. for credit.

Encourage your donors to mail checks early to ensure you're credited for them in time for the festival fundraising awards.

Donations received after May 4 still count towards your fundraising goal!
4Are donations tax deductible?
Dragon Boat Charleston is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, and your donation may be deductible. Check with your tax advisor.

Our Tax ID # is 32-0253953.
5Will donors receive a thank you?
All online donors will receive an automatic thank you note with tax information via email.

If the donor pays by check, they will receive an acknowledgment based on the information provided by the donor (for gifts over $25).

If you receive a cash donation, you can email staff to send a thank you note for donations over $50 .

FESTIVAL DAY

1When and where is the festival?
May 4, 2024, at Brittlebank Park. Plan on a full day of fun from about 8 am-4 pm.

The address is 185 Lockwood Dr, Charleston, SC 29403.
2Where do we park?
Parking maps will be available online and sent to team captains prior to the festival.
3When can we set up?
Drop off and set up as much as possible on Friday, May 3, after 1 p.m. There will be overnight security. 
4How do I find my team's tent?
Festival maps will be sent to the team captains, posted online, and available at the registration tent.
5Can teams bring grills, picnics, etc?
Yes, teams can bring grills, food, drinks, etc. to the race venue. No coolers larger than 48-quart size. Grills must be placed in the nearest “grilling area” to your tent.

There are also some great food vendors at the festival.
6What about the Racing?
Each team races approximately 250 meters against another team. All teams will participate in Heats 1 and 2. The top 3 teams in each division will participate in Heat 3. The schedule for the first heat will be emailed to team captains no later than Fri., May 3.

Your team can paddle “light” with as little as 16 people, but it is not recommended.  All paddlers must be over the age of 14. Mixed teams must have a minimum of 8 women. All paddlers must be sober. 

STAY ALERT! You will not know exactly what time you are racing. 

The weather may impact the schedule throughout the day. Be sure you can hear the announcer so you don't miss being called to marshaling.
7What awards are there?
Awards are given to top fundraising team (Community and Corporate) and the top three individual fundraisers. 

Awards are also given out for best team spirit.  Decorate your tent, wear team or themed shirts, and celebrate the day!
8Are there any COVID restrictions?
Currently, there are no COVID restrictions on attendance. However, anyone who does not feel well is asked not to attend.

Remember, the majority of our volunteers are cancer survivors.
9Who can come watch?
The festival is free and open to the public. We love a crowd!

Please leave your furry friends at home.
10A word about weather
Festival and festival practices are rain or shine. In the case of high winds and/or lightning, all water activity will be canceled. A “weather hotline” will be set up in time for practice weeks. 

STAY ALERT! Weather may impact the race schedule. Make sure you're able to hear the announcer so you don't miss your race.
11A note on over celebrating
The City of Charleston Police Department joins us in ensuring the safety of all. You will not be permitted into Brittlebank with HUGE coolers full of alcohol. No paddling while intoxicated.

Team captains are responsible for ensuring the sobriety of their paddlers. Allowing intoxicated paddlers to paddle may cause forfeiture.

What Our Paddlers Are Saying About DBC

  • Lynda, Cancer Survivor
    "I had no idea when I started paddling with DBC that it would become an essential part of my life. What started as having fun on the water in 2003 blossomed into a network of friends and a support group that kept me sane as I underwent surgery and chemo in 2005 and again in 2007. It’s an escape from the horrors of cancer, where I am accepted whether I am strong or weak."
    Lynda, Cancer Survivor
  • Belinda, Cancer Survivor
    "DBC provides a community that accepts everyone where they are physically, as well as emotionally, and allows them to fully participate in a true sport as a team member. Paddling provides a positive challenge for physical and emotional growth, combined with the beauty of the outdoors and just plain fun. It’s good medicine."
    Belinda, Cancer Survivor
  • Gene, Cancer Survivor
    "Having cancer revealed my physical vulnerability, produced great fear, and threatened my mortality. DBC enhances my physical strength and makes me fearless. The peacefulness of the water, the drum beating in time with my heart, and the communion between paddlers who have all faced a fearful foe, makes me feel immortal."
    Gene, Cancer Survivor
  • Lois
    "Water is an integral part of the Lowcountry. Getting outside to exercise is important for physical health and mental well-being. A person who has had surgery, been stuck in the infusion room or under a radiation machine (cut, poisoned and burned) doesn’t feel like doing anything. It sucks the strength from a person. You feel that you will never feel human again. You feel ruined. Dragon boating is an opportunity to get outdoors and become one with your body again. You start to feel like maybe you can overcome the cancer toll. You note your surroundings and realize what a great lifestyle the Lowcountry has. The exercise helps build your stamina and brightens your outlook on the future."
    Lois
    Cancer Survivor
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