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2010 Dragon Boat Festival: Early registration for event can help save teams money

Teams wanting to participate in the 2010 Lake Bemidji Dragon Boat Festival Aug. 5-7 have until the early registration deadline of Monday, April 19, to save $100.

The full price is $750 per team. The last official day for teams to sign up is Monday, July 12. Because this year's festival falls later in August, the final registration deadline was pushed back almost two weeks.

To register for the festival, sponsored by the Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce and Bemidji Rotary Club, visit

Gary Johnson, festival cochairman, said having teams sign up early helps the planning process.

"This way, people mark the dates on their calendars," Johnson said. "It also helps the festival. We have to pre-order the amount of equipment we're going to need, like boats and jackets."

As of Wednesday, 33 teams have pre-registered or committed to participating as sponsor teams, Johnson said. Typically, he said, he sees a big rush of registrations come in very close to the early registration deadline.

Johnson said he is impressed that several of the pre-registered teams are new. He expects this year's team count will be at or higher than last year's 66 teams.

This summer's Dragon Boat Festival will again feature music, kids' activities, cultural activities, performances and night entertainment. Mix 103.7 retro 80s music will broadcast live from the Dragon's Den (beer and entertainment tent) on Thursday night. Bob and the Beachcombers are set to play on Friday night and Billy D and the Crystals will perform Saturday night.

Currently, the festival is soliciting applicants for food and beverage vendors. Applications are available online or at the Chamber of Commerce, located at 300 Bemidji Ave. N. Applications will be accepted until Friday, April 16.

"We continue to have tremendous support from the community and region," Johnson added.

According to Johnson, all of the major sponsors, cultural and media sponsors from last year will be involved in this year's festival, as well as several new ones.