In The Heart of Grand Marais
North Shore Dragon Boat Festival
Last weekend in July ~ Downtown Grand Marais, In the harbor - Visit Website
No, this isn't a throwback to a Leif Erikson and his legendary North Shore arrival aboard a dragon-prowed Viking ship. The Dragon Boat Festival is Grand Marais' newest festival, a low-key, mellow-paced weekend of harbor races where everyone has a good time and money is raised for several local non-profits.
Practice and Parade
Friday is practice and parade day. Strong, competitive teams from nearby Thunder Bay arrive with the boats and teams get in a few practice paddles. For many participants, it's their first time in a dragon boat. While it looks like a multi-person canoe, the rowing movement is quite different. The best teams know the powerful digging motion and paddle in unison. Listen for the drummer on each boat, pounding out the paddling rhythm. Right around 6:00 pm, all the teams line up in the municipal parking lot and parade to Harbor Park where, if you're lucky, Dragon dancers from Canada perform.
Paddle and Participate
Sound intriguing? Head to the website and sign up a team. You're the only one interested? No problem, the festival coordinators can find you a team to paddle with. All that's required is a registration and fee. Boats, paddles, and life jackets provided.
or Kick Back and Watch
Bring a lawn chair or blanket, and settle in to watch the races. One of our favorite spots to watch is from the upstairs deck of the Gun Flint Tavern, across from the harbor. All that physical activity can make you thirsty!