Hundreds of spectators were on hand as paddlers lined up to participate in the first annual Dragon Boat Race Festival, held on September 20, 2014, in Port Jefferson Harbor. Billed as a community event to bridge the Stony Brook campus and Port Jefferson Village, the event offered a day of fun, food and team building for the more than 70 students and 5,000 community members who participated.
“This event is helping to bring people together,” said Barbara Ransome, Director of Operations for the Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce, who was inspired to bring the race to Port Jefferson after visiting Cape May, New Jersey. Developed by the Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce, the Dragon Boat Festival was the first of its kind in Suffolk County. Sixteen teams competed from 9 am to 3 pm on vessels provided by High Five Dragon Boat Company. And at the end of the day, it was the boat paddled by students from the Dean of Students Office that took first place. Other Stony Brook boats were sponsored through the Confucius Institute and the Global China Connection. Students from all three teams spent the day meeting one another, supporting their fellow Stony Brook competitors and learning about the area. For some students, it was their first time visiting Port Jefferson.
The crowd enjoyed performances by several cultural groups, including Stony Brook’s Taiko Tides, traditional Japanese drumming group, and authentic food vendors from Nassau, Suffolk and New York.
“I was so proud of our students. They are great ambassadors for the University,” said Cathrine Duffy, team coordinator from the Dean of Students Office.
Next year’s event will be held on September 19.
— Joan Dickinson