Festival Schedule

Blessing Ceremony

All Access Friday & Friday Night Kickoff

Main Stage Entertainment

Creekside Stage & Family Fun Zone

Festival Schedule

Friday June 22 – All Access Friday
Friday Kickoff: Live performances on the Main Stage and Visiting Team Welcome Party, 5pm
5th Annual Dragon Boat BC Legacy Gala * Tickets for Purchase 5pm
Feature Races: Survivor Showdown and the Barrier Free Canada Cup 6:00pm
Festival Site Closed  9pm
Saturday, June 23
Races start 8am
Concord Pacific Fan Zone Open 8am
Family Fun Zone Opens 10am
Main Stage Entertainment Begins 11am
Granville Island Brewing Beverage Garden Opens 11am
Circus West POP-up Performances Begin 12pm
Opening Ceremony featuring the CHMB AM1320 Variety Show  12pm
Concord Pacific Champion Race Series 1:30pm
Featured Race: Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office International Cup presented by Concord Pacific
Featured Race: Roundhouse Radio Grand Dragons Cup
Featured Race: BCAA U24 Cup
Featured Race: CIBC Breast Cancer Survivor Race
Featured Race: Steve Nash Fitness World Guts and Glory Women 5pm
Festival Site Closed 7pm
Sunday, June 24
Races start 8am
Concord Pacific Fan Zone Open 8am
Visiting Team Race 8am
Family Fun Zones Opens 10am
Main Stage Entertainment Begins 11am
Granville Island Brewing Beverage Garden Opens 11am
Circus West POP-up Performances Begin 12pm
Featured Championship Divisional Races 12pm
Featured Race: Concord Pacific Guts and Glory (Mixed) 5pm
Festival site is closed to the general public 6pm

Blessing Ceremony

Awakening the Spirit of the Dragon


Dotting the eyes takes on a whole different meaning when we Awaken the Dragons – the official kick-off event for the 2018 Vancouver Dragon Boat Festival.

Each year Festival honours the ancient Chinese tradition of dragon boat racing with an Eye Dotting and Dragon Blessing Ceremony. We invite priests and members of the congregation of the Evergreen Taoist Church to the waters of False Creek to conduct this ancient and colourful ritual.

The priests set up their altar right on the dock from which paddlers will board dragon boats the next morning. The dragon boats – “dressed” with ornate dragon heads and tails – are lined up. The chanting begins. The priests invoke the Goddess of the Sea, the Saints and the Immortals through chanting, invocation and burning joss sticks. This cleanses and blesses the racecourse, the competitors and their boats and charges all with the strength of the Dragon.

The priests make offerings to the five elements and directions: joss sticks representing wood for the east, flowers representing metal for the west, candles representing fire for the south, water representing its elemental self for the north and fruit representing the earth for the centre.

The climax of the ceremony is the eye dotting ritual, which officially awakens the Dragon. Ancient Chinese dragon mythology has it that the Dragon sleeps in the mountains and travels to the water when it is awakened. Guest dignitaries assist in this rite, dipping brushes in pots of red cinnabar paint and dabbing the eyes on the boats’ dragon heads.

At the end of the ceremony the priests nourish and appease other souls that might be present by throwing them 18 coins and coloured beans representing the five elements and directions. Taoism is one of the world’s oldest religions, originating in ancient China. Members of the Evergreen Taoist Church are devotees of the Complete Reality School – Dragon Gate Sect and follow the teachings of the Immortals, master Lu Sun-Young, Master Wong Chung-Young and his disciple Master Yau Cheung-Chun.


Please join us for this engaging ritual:

Where: Dock at the foot of Ontario Street, north side of Creekside Community Centre.

Further information for media:
Anita Webster, Media Relations
Phone: (604) 732-7035
Cell: (604) 313-6568
Email: media@dragonboatbc.ca

All Access Friday

We kick off the Concord Pacific Vancouver Dragon Boat Festival with All Access Friday.

All Access Friday features the Survivor Showdown and the inaugural Barrier Free Canada Cup. 

The Survivor Showdown – Abreast In A Boat vs. Butts In A Boat – is a challenge between prostate and breast cancer survivors.  Cheer on these two amazing teams as they race and help build awareness for their causes.

We are pleased to host the Barrier Free Canada Cup.  Eight teams that make it their mission to engage people facing different challenges race down the historic False Creek race course for glory, and to raise funds for their causes. Watch the Barrier Free Canada Cup from the comfort of the Concord Pacific Fan Zone located at the finish line.

The race isn’t just on the water, but on land as well. Concord Pacific will match pledges for the team that raises the most for their charity up to $5,000.

Friday Night Kickoff

Starting at 5pm, the Festival kicks off with live performances on the Main Stage with Kutapira, followed by the BC World Music Collective.

Grab a drink at the Granville Island Brewing Beverage Garden during the performances and make sure to visit our food trucks, marketplace and Portobello West.

Visiting Teams Welcome Party

Out of town teams and their hosts are invited to attend this special event that coincides with the Friday Night Kick Off. Invited paddlers enjoy free food and a drink with their teammates and new friends.

If your team would like to attend, please email racerservices@dragonboatbc.ca

Visiting Teams Welcome Party, Friday June 23rd

Out of town teams and their hosts are invited to attend this special event that coincides with the Friday night opening Festival Kickoff. Invited paddlers enjoy free food and a drink with their teammates and new friends. The festival and welcoming begins at 5:00 PM with performances by Kutapira and the BC World Music Collective. Find the complete festival entertainment line up at Main Stage

Food is going to be provided by: Fresh Slice

fresh slice

Drinks will be provided by: Granville Island Brewing, Berefoot Wineries, Wards Cider and Pure Life Tea.

Wards pure leafbarefootGranville Island

Teams can RSVP with Racers Services for the Visiting Team Welcome.

You will also see Circus West, Arial Amara, Neezar Joseph, the Fung Loy Kok Institute of Taoism, Cosmo the Clown, and the Mighty Quinn on the grass and the boardwalk at various times throughout the day.

The Langley Ukulele Ensemble will amaze and delight audiences with their amazing compositions and musicianship all played on the Ukulele. Don’t miss this these 22 young musicians as they interpret songs of yesterday and today with charm, flair and their unique ukulele stylings.

FUNG LOY KOK INSTITUTE OF TAOISM TAI CHI DEMOLearn the foundations of Tai Chi from Vancouver’s from Vancouver’s leading practitioners. Melt the stress away with a series of led sequences accompanied by serene music against the beautiful backdrop of False Creek. Tai chi is a noncompetitive, self-paced system of gentle physical exercise and stretching where each posture flows into the next without pause, ensuring that your body is in constant motion.


Witness the Shao Lin Hung Gar Lion Dance Team present their amazing and acrobatic Lion Dance at the Dragon Boat Festival once again this year. Led by Raymond Cheung, this group performs at various festivals, special events, and Chinese New Year Celebrations throughout BC. The lion, a symbol of power, wisdom, and good fortune, chases away evil spirits and brings happiness, longevity, and good luck.



Quinn Beasley is a professional circus artist who was born and raised in East Vancouver, and has been training and performing for over 8 years. His talents range from breathtaking fire performances to mesmerizing juggling and aerial acts. Quinn has performed and taught all over the word, in places such as the U.S., Thailand, Japan, and Haiti. Catch Quinn on the Community Stage and Boardwalk.



Melissa Aston brings 20 years of eclectic circus performance to the stage, circus ring, and hospitals. This quirky comedy stylist has performed in stadiums across the U.S., in a duck pond on Granville Island, at festivals throughout the continent, and currently, at BC Children’s Hospital and Canuck Place Children’s Hospice. Melissa is Head Clown of Kazoomco Productions and has performed at countless festivals, and has travelled with Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus.


Arial Amara is a multi-faceted performer specializing in extreme tallness, elaborate costuming and engaging character. She is often found obsessing over circles and playing with burning objects. Her primary goals in life are to delight peoples senses and inspire a twinkle in the eye, enticing childlike joy, mischief and more. Based on the North American West Coast, Ariel has been performing for nearly 15 years as a Hooper, Fire Spinner, Clown and Stilt Walker


Neezar is a Canadian Singer, Actor, Musician and Circus Performer based in Vancouver, Canada. Neezar has been entertaining audiences for the last 18 years with charisma and depth to a spontaneous outpouring of characters. These numerous characters have caused Neezar to develop a symphony of artistic expressions including acting, stilt-walking, fire-breathing, opera singing, puppeteering and mime making him a quintessential performer, artist and entertainer.



Drum Syndicate is a world percussion trio that presents a dynamic and interactive performance. Part concert, part workshop, they invite the audience to join in the excitement. Playing high-energy traditional music from Africa, Brazil and Cuba, the group will have you up ‘busting a move’ in no time.



CircusWest brings its newest show to the Dragon Boat Festival celebrating Canada’s 150th anniversary. ‘Glowing Hearts’ is a heartfelt circus exploration of the true North and a showcase of young circus artists celebrating Canada. Join us centre ring for a fun show of circus aerials, acrobatics, juggling, and acts design to amaze and astound.

© 2017 Canadian International Dragon Boat Festival Society