Frequently Asked Questions

For Community Teams participating in the Lake Champlain Dragon Boat Festival

Dates, Team Types and Fees

Date: Racing starts around 8:00 a.m. on Sunday, August 4th and runs through approximately 4:00 p.m. Final schedule to be developed when the number of teams competing is known.

What's a CommunityTeam? A Sport team is a team that is formed for the purpose of participating in this Festival. Teams do not practice regularly in a dragon boat prior to Practice Weekend--though you're encourage to practive your stroke and timing outside of the boat as much as possible!

What are the requirements for forming a team? 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.

Team/Boat Size and composition: We run standard size boats with 16 paddlers and a drummer. Teams may compete with as few as 14 paddlers. We will provide a steersperson / coach on the back of the boat.

Can anyone paddle a dragon boat? Almost anyone can paddle a dragon boat after a short lesson, which we provide at your Practice Weekend. 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.

Minimum Age: Athletes must be at least 14 years old to participate.

Registration Fee: Entry fees are $50 per participant (paddlers and drummer). Registration fees may be paid at all once for the whole team or individual paddlers can pay as they register. This choice will be made by the team captain when the team is registered. Those paying for an entire team may pay by credit card or by check. Individual registrations are by credit card only.

Checks for team registration should be: 1) made out to Dragonheart Vermont ($850 fee), 2) mailed to 899 Dorset Street, South Burlington, VT 05403, and 3) received by July 15, 2024.

In addition, each participant who is 18 years or older will make a commitment to raise a minimum of $75 for our charities. See more information below.

What is included in my registration fee? The registration fee includes a 90 minute practice July 20 or 21 for every team, a Festival t-shirt and hat for each participant (up to 17 for pre-paid teams or the # of participants on an individual pay team), and at least two races on Festival Day.

Refunds: Entry fees are not refundable.

How do I register my team? Use the Register link at the left and select Community Team. Then choose the Create a Team option, name your team, and set your fundraising goal (minimum $1275), provide your personal registration details and check out. We'll send you instructions about setting up your team page and inviting your team members to register--being sure to tell them if you've paid the team fee or if they will pay when they register themselves.

How do team members register? Each team member needs to register themselves in order to sign our Festival waiver. After selecting the Community Team type, click on the Join a Team option and choose the team name. Complete the personal details and sign the event waiver. That's it!

Since this is a charity event, do we have to fundraise? Community team participants will make a $75 fundraising commitment at the time of registration, secured with a credit card. 

Each participant will have a personal fundraising page. The team will too! Individual fundraising will count toward the team's goal. If the team meets its collective fundraising goal ($1275), then individuals will not be charged even if their personal fundraising total is less than the required amount.

Paddlers Without a Team

What is a free agent? We have a category of participant called a "Free Agent." Not because participation is free, but because you aren't yet associated with any particular team.

How do I sign up? Select the Community Team type, click on the Join a Team option and choose the Free Agent Team. Complete the personal details and sign the event waiver. That's it!

What do I pay? You pay the $50 individual registration fee and sign the fundraising commitment ($75).

How do I get on a "real" team? Our Free Agent team has a team captain whose job is to assign you to a team that doesn't have enough paddlers for the Festival. They will work with you to match you up with a the best team for you--maybe a similar industry or employer or geographic area or even age group. We'll ask for your suggestions/affiliations and get you squared away.

What do I practice? Assuming that you've signed up before practice weekend, we'll get it all squared away so that you can come and meet your teammates and practice with them.

What happens if you can't fine me a team?  If we can't place you on a team by July 17, we will refund your fee and cancel your fundraising commitment.

Races, Race Day and Race Venue

Race length: 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!

Race Sequence/Schedule: in the morning, each team races to the finish line to establish their divisional placement, based on time. Teams are grouped in divisions of eight with similar times to compete for divisional medals. Everyone races in the quarter finals, winners go on to the semi-finals and those winners to the finals for each division.

Registration: We ask that your team be present onsite to register no less than one hour before your scheduled race time. Last minute additions to your team must register onsite using our online platform.

How do we qualify for a medal? To qualify for a medal, you need to...

Athletes' Village:

  • Each team will be assigned a 15' x 15' space in our Athlete's Village. We try to group teams together by employer or industry whenever we can.
  • We do not provide tents for your team, please plan to bring your own.
  • Decorating your tent space to match your team's "theme" could win you our Best Team Tent Site Spirit Award. Get creative@
  • Tents can be set up beginning at 3:00 p.m. Site security is provided for overnight, but we do not recommend leaving any valuables or easily removed items (like chairs and coolers).
  • The Athlete's Village map will be made available the week prior to the Festival.

Food and drink: We will have food vendors and a water truck onsite. Our food vendors do not necessarily provide healthy food to fuel your racing. Please bring a refillable water bottle and any food you'd like for the day. No alcohol is allowed in Waterfront Park unless provided by the event organizers in official vending locations.

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.

Our 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? 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 financial 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? Community teams in the Festival commit to raising a minimum of $75 per person 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.

We'd love for our Sport and Breast Cancer teams to join in the fundraising, but it is not required. As an incentive, we're offering these teams free Festival t-shirts if they raise $750 by June 1. We realize that's early, but we need to know who has met the goal by then since the t-shirts must be ordered in June!

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.