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Philadelphia Dragon Boat Festival Post-Celebration to Carry-on Ancient Tradition; Inaugural Paddlers Invited To Sign Team Song or Chant

PHILADELPHIA (November 7, 2002) -- The Philadelphia Dragon Boat Festival will celebrate its successful first year in Philadelphia by hosting a Post Inaugural Dragon Boat Festival Celebration on Friday, November 8 from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at Lloyd Hall in Philadelphia.

Paddlers from the 42 teams that participated in the race in October and Festival volunteers are invited to come dressed in their uniforms wearing the medals won at this year's race. In the tradition of Dragon Boat competition, each team will be asked to sing a team song or chant.

The date for the second annual Philadelphia Dragon Boat Festival has been set for October 4th, 2003.

Background on Dragon Boat Racing

Dragon boats are the world's largest flat water racing canoes, propelled by a crew of 20 paddlers, plus a drummer and steersperson. Synchronicity is more important than strength. A perfectly synchronized team will almost always beat a stronger, less coordinated team.

For the October Dragon Boat Festival, dragon boat teams from corporations, community organizations, and schools used World Championship fiberglass dragon boats that were fully equipped with dragon head and tail, paddles, steering oar, and drum. The teams raced for 500 meters in four lanes on the Schuylkill River. Each mixed crew must have one steersperson, one drummer and 20 paddlers, and of those paddlers, eight must be women.

The origin of Dragon Boat Racing dates back almost 2000 years to the Chinese legend of Qu Yuan, a 4th Century statesman, poet, and advisor who, exiled to Southern China, committed suicide by drowning himself in the Milou River. In an attempt to save him, local fishermen raced out onto the water to rescue the drowning Qu. The fishermen wildly beat their drums and splashed the water with their paddles in an attempt to prevent water dragons and fish from eating his body. ...more

The modern Dragon Boat Race is based upon the re-enactment of the race to save Qu from drowning. Over time, village fishing boats, sailed each year in the symbolic search for Qu Yuan's body. They began to take part in races which evolved into dragon boat racing's present form. Today, dragon boat racing is one of the fastest growing athletic events in the world and has grown to more than 2 million participants in 40 countries.

"The Philadelphia Dragon Boat Festival is about community spirit, physical fitness, family-oriented fun, and friendships through paddling," says Carol Lee Lindner, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Dragon Boat Festival. "And proceeds from the Festival, will benefit a truly worthy cause, cancer research and prevention at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia."

"We're proud to be the beneficiary of the Inaugural Philadelphia Dragon Boat Festival," says Robert C. Young, M.D., president of Fox Chase Cancer Center and national president of the American Cancer Society. "We are extremely grateful for the generous donation to cancer research from the Festival's participants, sponsors, and spectators. We commend the spirit of the competition and share in the exhilaration of victory."

"This is a great opportunity for businesses or corporations to encourage their employees to get involved and learn more about team work, camaraderie, and how to achieve a common goal," Lindner says. "Dragon Boat racing not only builds strong muscles, but strong character."

For more information about the 2003 Philadelphia Dragon Boat Festival, to sponsor the event, or to coordinate a team, visit or call 1-800-385-2658.

Fox Chase Cancer Center, part of the Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence four consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach.  For more information, call 1-888-FOX CHASE or (1-888-369-2427).

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