River Cities Dragon Boat Festival Sails Onto Lake Willastein Next Month

This isn’t your average lake outing.

The 11th annual River Cities Dragon Boat Festival is once again sailing for Maumelle. On Saturday, June 8, teams of 20 paddlers — and one high-spirited drummer — will descend on Lake Willastein to battle it out with 46-foot-long, Hong Kong-style dragon boats.

In a full day of fun, teams race across the lake to the sounds of their drummer’s shouted encouragement, with prizes going to the fastest rowers and the teams with the best costumes. Saturday’s schedule also include food trucks and music for the noncompetitors and activities for the kiddos.

Festivities begin the previous night, June 7, in the “athletes’ village” with a family-friendly celebration for teams, complete with a full-on fireworks display.

Proceeds from the weekend benefit the Children’s Protection Center, a nonprofit that works with all agencies, from law enforcement to mental health professionals, to provide a coordinated approach to child abuse cases. Last year’s festivities brought in nearly $200,000, a record for the event, and 2024 funds will go toward the completion of a new CPC facility in north Pulaski County.

For more information and to register your team, visit the River Cities Dragon Boat Festival website and follow the fest on Facebook and Instagram.

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