Aug. 13 – Solomons Dragon Boat Festival

If you happen to spot a sea creature in Solomons Island on Aug. 13, do not fear. It’s not the mysterious Chesapeake Bay sea monster Chessie, it’s the Solomons Dragon Boat Festival.
Southern Maryland Community Resources will hold its annual Dragon Boat Festival from 8am-3pm in Solomons Island. The annual festival is a fun, family-oriented event featuring teams of paddlers competing for glory on the Patuxent River.
There will be a day of dragon boat races complete with a parade of teams, entertainment, caricature artists, children’s activities, vendor village and an awards ceremony. Events throughout the week include a traditional Dotting of the Eye ceremony, practice sessions and a flash mob.
The event raises funds for SMCR and its members with developmental differences.
Rebecca Ali is a board member of Southern Maryland Community Resources.
“Last year was my first experience with the Solomons Dragon Boat Festival,” Rebecca says. “I entered a team in the race representing my local business, High Tide Games. My team had a blast! Being on the water and spending the day together in our Team Village was an amazing morale booster, and we raised a lot of money for a wonderful cause.”
Kristin Kauffman Beaver is the chairwoman of the event and also sits on the SMCR board. She loves how Solomons welcomes the event.
“The whole town of Solomons comes alive for our festival,” Kristin says. “The shops, restaurants and other businesses all partner with SMCR to make the festival such a huge success. Some of the restaurants offer drink specials that benefit the cause, and several of the businesses provide respite, storage, boat lifts and space.”
The event offers “something for everyone,” says Therese Thiedeman, SMCR’s program director. “2021 was my first experience with [the festival]. What a great time we all had.”
She says teams of co-workers, friends and sometimes complete strangers paddle boats together in competition for those elusive first-place bragging rights.
Summing up last year’s event, she says, “Vendors selling a variety of wares attractive to festival attendees and participants alike. Food vendors providing a delicious variety of foods to satisfy all palates. Local businesses open to provide some indoor respite from the heat, special Dragon Boat beverages, and sit-down meals. And fun activities for children of all ages. It all began the night before as the Solomons community gathered for the Dotting of the Eye festivities in which the dragons were awakened to prepare for the boat races the next day, while members of SMCR and friends presented a fun flash mob to entertain attendees and get the festivities off to an exciting, energetic start.”
Those interested in signing up a team or volunteering should go to somdcr.org/dragonboat/ for more information.

— Felicia Mumbert