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Bemidji Dragon Boat Festival: Team registration period extended

The registration date for the Bemidji Dragon Boat Festival has now been extended from July 1 to July 15 to allow more teams to sign up for the event.

"More people have been calling and we're actually on par at this point with where we were last year," said Lori Paris, Chamber of Commerce president.

The Dragon Boat Web site,, hasn't been updated with the new registration date yet, but Paris said the site has seen major upgrades with more information and details about the upcoming event.

So far, 59 teams, around 1,200 participants, have registered, as well as two Canadian teams and several out-of-state teams.

Paris said the current economic times aren't putting off too many teams this year.

"Even with the economy, the people don't want to give that up," she said. "Some corporations haven't been able to do a team registration, but paddlers could pitch in around $30 for a weekend's worth of fun, and still participate as a team."

The weekend-long festival includes food, musical entertainment, such as Bob and the Beachcombers and Billy D and the Crystal as well as the returning Dragon's Den, also known as the beer tent. The first round of races starts at 8:30 a.m. Aug. 1, with the second round, finals round and events all day long.

Besides competing for the gold, silver and bronze medals, paddlers can also compete for the yearly traveling cups in the following categories: bankers, health, media, civic, contractors, and new this year, education.

To register for the races, sign up online or stop by the Tourist Information Center at the Bemidji waterfront.