About 2,400 years ago in China, poet Qu Yuan protested government practices by throwing himself into a river to drown. He was so well-loved by townspeople, they raced out in boats to retrieve him.
Thus began the Chinese dragon boat racing tradition, which has become so popular in China, says Richard Lukens, it’s second only to the Chinese New Year.
Dragon boat racing has also become a serious competitive sport in Europe, England and Vancouver, Canada, says Lukens, who is producing the second annual Los Angeles International Dragon Boat Festival, Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m., at Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park in San Dimas.
About 30 teams of local and international paddlers will race the colorful 50-foot-long dragon boats on Puddingstone Reservoir. Individual paddlers may enter the race at no extra cost (admission: adults $7.95; children 12 and under $4.95; under 4 free).
The festival also includes food, arts and crafts, children’s activities and entertainment. Exit the I-10 and I-210 freeways at Via Verde. (818) 564-1811.