Dragon Boat races come to Mobile

MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) -An unusual fundraiser hopes to attract crowds of spectators on the Causeway Saturday, June 7.

It’s a boat race, but of a very different kind.

You could say, it’s all about dragons!

The origins of the watercraft date back 23-hundred years, and half a world away.

DRAGON RACE

It’s called a Dragon Race.

Employees of the Mobile County Public School System have been among those practicing for the race at 5 Rivers Delta Resource Center in Spanish Fort.

One of the organizers, Brie Zarzour, said, “A dragon boat race is comprised of 46 foot Chinese row boats that have 20 rowers, one drummer, and one steerer.”

THE FUSE PROJECT

Zarzour is a member of a group called The Fuse Project, which is sponsoring the event to raise money for two groups.

One group is The Alabama Coastal Foundation.

Zarzour said, “The Alabama Coastal Foundation aims to educate about 1800 middle school students, both in Mobile and Baldwin counties, on, right here: the delta, the estuaries, the bay.”

The other group is the Mobile school system, which will use the money to set up an alternative school at Scarborough Middle School, similar to one at Denton Middle School, for students with serious disciplinary issues.

Rena Philips with Mobile County Public Schools said, “They will attend class in the afternoon with a couple of teachers over there, work online, and they’ll just have a smaller setting, individual attention.

BEING THE DRUMMER

So what’s easiest job on a Dragon Boat?

The drummer.

He or she beats on a drum to set the pace for the rowers.

School system Spokesperson Nancy Pierce will be the drummer on one of the school system boats.

She said, “You feel so guilty because everybody’s working so hard, and I’m just beating a drum.”

The races start at 9:00 am and will last until about 3:00 pm.

The public is invited to watch for free.

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