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Dragon Boat Festival has seats ready for a wild ride

Thursday, August 28, 2003

By Bob Batz Jr., Post-Gazette Staff Writer

You still can get in on dragon boating in time to race in the Sept. 6 Pittsburgh Dragon Boat Festival.

Dragon boats race during the Friends of the Riverfront triathlon and adventure race in July 2002. (Andy Starnes, Post-Gazette)

Three Rivers Rowing Association's Ben Ledewitz says there are seats available in the 44-foot boats for the second annual festival, which this year will take place on the Monongahela River at South Side Riverfront Park.

TRRA is charging $15 to $20 to participate in the races. But college students are invited to test the waters for free at 3 p.m. Saturday to see if they'd like to be on a collegiate team. Any group of at least 16 people still can register late as its own team (for $400) by Monday night.

Some 20 teams -- from local companies and groups to out-of-towners -- are expected to compete in the free festival, which features Chinese cultural events and food, along with river activities. The TRRA, which runs a three-season dragon boat league, keeps its two boats at its new boat house in Millvale. Steel City Rowing Club in Verona also has a boat.

For boathouse directions and more information, visit the Web site, e-mail or call 412-231-8772. The festival Web site is

Meanwhile, a dragon boat will be showing up in a very unlikely place on Sunday. TRRA plans to launch one -- along with several kayaks -- as part of the flotilla that will accompany the re-enactment of the launch of Meriwether Lewis' keelboat on the 200th anniversary of the original launch from here. The public is welcome to sign up for seats and paddles to be part of that, too.

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