Frequently Asked Questions

Festival Basics

Festival Date: The 2024 Lake Champlain Dragon Boat Festival will be held on SUNDAY, August 4, 2024 from approximately 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sport and Breast Cancer Paddler teams will also race on Saturday afternoon!

Registration Fee: The individual participant fee includes an entry fee of $50 and a $75 fundraising commitment. Participants under 18 do not have a fundraising commitment.

This registration fee includes a 75-minute practice session on Practice Weekend (July 20-21), at least two races on Festival Day, and souvenir Festival swag for each paddler/drummer.

Refunds: Entry fees are not refundable

Alcohol at Waterfront Park: The City of Burlington prohibits the consumption of alcohol at Waterfront Park outside of the confines of any that are offered in the Festival’s main tent.

Team Name:  Team names are limited only by your imagination. If you are sponsored by a company or organization it is important to state your company name in your team name so that our community knows who your team is. It is great PR!

Length of Races: Races will be short—just 200 meters—but there will be lots of them! The short race course allows us to keep the races close to the shore, so spectators will be able to see all the action (and teams will be close enough to hear you cheering them on). The race is fast and furious. It will last just about a minute! Sport and Breast Cancer Paddler teams will also have 500 meter races on Saturday, August 3, beginning at about noon.

Festival Day Activities: Other activities on Festival Day will be loads of fun! Delicious food and treats will be available from local vendors. Check out Dragonheart Vermont’s Pick-Your-Prize Raffle, a 50-50 Raffle, DragonMart, and the Tattoo Tent. Who knows what else this year will bring! Bring friends, family, and lawn chairs, and plan on a rousing day! Admission to festival grounds is free.

Community Team/Paddler Requirements

Can anyone paddle a dragon boat? Almost anyone can paddle a dragon boat after a short lesson! Each team is provided a 75-minute lesson/practice session as part of the registration fee. Paddlers must be at least 14-years-old, but there are no other restrictions. The sport calls to all ages, genders, and skill levels.  Success is not dependent how strong or athletic you are, but by how well you can paddle in sync with your team members.

How many people are in a dragon boat?  In 2024 we will be racing with 16 paddlers and a drummer. While the standard dragon boat holds 20 paddlers, we’ve heard that teams often have a hard time gathering that many paddlers. So in the interest of fairness to all our teams, we’re going to race with 16 paddlers in the boat. You can have as many team members as you want and just rotate them through for the various races. 

Each boat also requires a steersperson who steers and coaches the boat. We provide a professional steersperson for each team.

What are the requirements for forming a team? Again, your team can have as many paddlers as you want, but we will race with 16 each time. We look to have an even distribution of male and female paddlers. You may have more than females than males, but in no case can you have more males than females.

How old do I have to be to paddle in the races? All team members need to be at least fourteen (14) years of age to participate in the races.

What are Free Agents? Every once in a while, a team falls short of the 17-member count. More times than not, a community member thinks “I wish I could paddle in the Lake Champlain Dragon Boat Festival, but I don’t belong to a team.” New this year, we are collecting a list of “Free Agents” (wannabe festival paddlers) and assigning them to “short teams” (teams that need an extra paddler or 2). The process is simple:

For Free Agents: sign up under the “Free Agent” Team and wait for your team captain to introduce themselves to you. You will be transferred to that team, and you will practice, race and hang with them!

For Short Teams: email us to tell us how many Free Agents you need. We will take over from there, rounding out your team with the needed paddlers and providing you with your new teammate’s contact information. You can then introduce yourself and provide your practice date and team info.

What equipment will I need? Everything you need to race –  paddle, life jackets, boats, coach, – is included in your race fees. Please bring a water bottle (we have a water truck), sunscreen, and a smile!

Do I get to practice dragon boating before the Festival? Your team race fee includes a 75-minute practice paddling lesson. We have set aside the weekend of July 15-16 for Practice Weekend, so mark your calendars. Team Captains will select a specific time for your practice session when they register. This is a great team building experience!

What are your COVID-19 public health measures? The Lake Champlain Dragon Boat Festival will follow, at minimum, the COVID protocols issued by the City of Burlington and the State of Vermont. Participants will be asked during the registration process to agree to abide by these requirements.

Sport Division Teams

We invite club teams from the region to enter a team in our sport division. These teams are comprised of 20 paddlers and a drummer. You can either provide your own steersperson, or we can provide one for you. The entry fee for this division is $1200 and there is no fundraising commitment, although we hope that you will help support our charitable mission. Sport teams will also race the 500m distance on Saturday afternoon.

We also invite breast cancer club teams from the region to enter a team in our breast cancer paddler division. To be eligible for medals in the breast cancer division, teams must be comprised of all breast cancer paddlers, from drummer to paddlers (20) to steersperson. The entry fee for this division is $1200 and there is no fundraising commitment, although we hope that you will help support our charitable mission. BCP teams will also race the 500m distance on Saturday afternoon.


Charitable Mission

Why do we hold the festival? The Lake Champlain Dragon Boat Festival is all about coming together as a community to raise money to help cancer survivors in the Champlain Valley. Festival proceeds assist the cancer support programs of Dragonheart Vermont, breast cancer survivor and supporter dragon boat teams, and our Pledge Partner

Who benefits from the festival proceeds? The Osher Integrative Oncology at UVM Cancer Center is our 2024 Pledge Partner. One hundred percent of the donations made to the Lake Champlain Dragon Boat Festival stay in our community and benefit local cancer survivors through two organizations: Dragonheart Vermont and Integrative Therapies. Dragonheart Vermont is a breast cancer survivor and supporter dragon boat organization that carries on year-long programs to support and empower breast cancer survivors. Our partnership with Osher Integrative Oncology provides support for them to offer therapies that help relieve suffering, improve care and quality of life, support healthy lifestyles, and empower cancer patients and families

Who does the fundraising? All Festival participants commit to raising a minimum of $75 toward our charitable mission. Team-based fundraising events count toward that commitment and help to build team spirit and camaraderie. Our top three fundraising teams for the 2024 LCDBF will compete in our “prime time” victory race right after the Flower Ceremony…the Splash for Cash Dash.

Tax Deductions

Are race fees tax deductible? Registration fees for The Lake Champlain Dragon Boat Festival do not constitute a charitable contribution for tax purposes because you receive both goods (festival hats, shirts, and medals per team) and services (participation in two or more races and a coached practice session) in exchange for those fees.

Are donations tax deductible? All donations beyond your entry fees are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law. Donations will be acknowledged with a receipt appropriate for tax purposes. Online donors will receive an email that should be saved for tax records; we do not send additional paper acknowledgments to online donors.

Tax Information you might want: The Lake Champlain Dragon Boat Festival is run under the auspices of Dragonheart Vermont, a 501(c)3 charitable organization.  Our Federal I.D. # is: 20-1199994.