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Lake Bemidji Dragon Boat Festival: Time is now to register and save

Those interested in taking part in the popular Lake Bemidji Dragon Boat Festival have until April 5 to save $100 on team registrations.

Teams may be registered for $650, $100 less than the normal registration fee, until Early Bird Registration expires after April 5. A $100 deposit is required.

"It's fun to see teams registering already," said Gary Johnson, co-chair of the Lake Bemidji Dragon Boat Festival. "We've already had inquiries from new teams from Canada - and one has already registered."

The first Canadian team to take part was Dragon Power, a team from Winnipeg. Last year, a team named Eh, also out of Winnipeg, joined Dragon Power as Canadian representatives in the Bemidji festival.

And now Johnson said a third Canadian team has registered.

"And a fourth has inquired about (the festival)," Johnson said.

The fourth annual Dragon Boat Festival will be July 30 to Aug. 1 at the Lake Bemidji waterfront.

Dragon boat teams consist of 16-20 paddlers, plus a drummer who sets the pace, and a steersperson who guides the boat along the course. Teams must include at least eight females. The minimum age is 14. Each race takes 2-3 minutes.

The Lake Bemidji Dragon Boat Festival has grown in popularity since its debut in 2006. Thirty-six teams took part in the inaugural competition, 60 in 2007 and 65 in 2008.

The annual festival is sponsored jointly between the Bemidji Rotary Club and Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce. Proceeds go toward causes supported by those two organizations.

Anyone interesting in registering or learning more about the festival is encouraged to go online to

Registration is available online, or also can be taken via fax or U.S. Mail.