As 2012 marks the year of the dragon in China, teams are getting ready for a series of dragon boat races Saturday in downtown Nashville.
It is sure to be a spectacle and a day of fun all in the name of a great cause.
Nearly 50 teams will dress themselves up in colorful costumes - the crazier and more creative the better - and race in 250-meter sprints.
While the outcomes are to be determined, the sure winner in this sixth annual event is the mighty Cumberland River.
Timing, strength and strategy are all keys to winning the race, and a drumbeat to keep the rowers in synch also reminds Tennesseans of the greatness of the river many drive above or around every day.
"It's a great opportunity for us to get people out on the river and see this great resource that we have right downtown," said Margaret Littman, with the Cumberland River Compact.
More than 2 million people depend on the Cumberland River watershed for drinking water and everyday utilities. The boat race event raises money for conservation and programs designed to keep the river thriving.
"So all those sorts of programs that are less sexy than wearing a dragon costume, but more important is that it's what we do the other 365 days a year," Littman said.
Everything gets going around 8 a.m. and runs until 1 p.m. Organizers say it is a spectacle and a great opportunity for families to experience some sights and sounds of Chinese culture.
Copyright WSMV 2012 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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