IRVING, TX (AsiaWorldMedia.com) – The Texas Thunder won the Festival Grand Champion Race at the 2012 Annual DFW Dragon Boat, Kite, and Lantern Festival held on Sunday, May 20, 2012. In a close race with five other finalist teams, the Texas Thunder team finished the race in just over a minute, with a record time of 1:08:65, setting the fastest time of the day.
“This year, thirty-six corporate, community, and civic dragon boat teams competed in their divisions for the festival grand champion titles,” said Ke Bi, festival chair with co-chairs Hua Huang, Shirley Xiang, James Huang and Merna Parcon. “Teams from Louisiana, Oklahoma, Austin and Houston came down to compete in the dragon boat races.”
The festival attracted an estimated 18,000 attendees. In addition to the dragon boat racing, the festival also featured kites, colorful lanterns, and a cultural show with over 300 performers, cultural dancers, and martial artists from many Asian communities in the DFW area. Activities also include raising cancer awareness and carnation ceremony. Also, new activities which include kite, photography, and Chinese hacky sack competition were added to this year festival.
The 2012 Annual DFW Dragon Boat, Kite, and Lantern Festival celebrates Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month and is hosted by the Marco Polo World Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to expanding awareness and education of Asian cultures and to promoting the sport of dragon boat racing in North Texas. All festival organizers are volunteers from the community, said Diana Meilan Wang, MPWF Chairperson and President . “Strong support from the City of Irving, community organizations, local corporations, Michaels, The Dallas County Utility Reclamation District, Irving and the Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce, Wu Yo Shaolin Martial Arts Center and Lee’s White Leopard Kung Fu School has made this popular cultural festival possible”.
Dragon boat racing is one of the fastest-growing sporting events in America. Popular in Asia for centuries, it is relatively new to the western hemisphere. Programs along the east and west coasts of the United States and Canada attract up to 50,000 attendees each year.