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Dragon boat festival roars into Jacksonville

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Updated: 9/12/2013 7:22 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla -- A brand new event that some think will inject lots of new money into Jacksonville is having its inaugural festival at The Landing on Saturday, September 21.

It's called the Fidelity Investments Jacksonville Dragon Boat Festival and it celebrates a sport that organizers say has been in Chinese culture for thousands of years.

The boat is a paddle boat that holds up to 20 people. They all paddle in unison and teams will race against each other all day. There will also be Chinese-themed cultural events taking place.

"It's a really exciting thing to watch, even if you're not involved in a boat," said event organizer Jeri Millard.

Yet there is a secondary goal: organizers say it's more money leading to growth for Jacksonville.

"We're trying to revitalize downtown," said Millard. "That's one of the missions right now. I can't think of a better way to bring people to our downtown area."

Teams are coming into town from across the country. Organizers hope like the Florida-Georgia game and One Spark Festival, the Dragon Boat fest will be an annual event also synonymous with Jacksonville.

"I think it's so important to get out and enjoy the St. johns and all of our area waterways," said Jimmy Orth, Executive Director of the St. Johns River Keeper.

All of the proceeds for the event go to In The Pink, a breast cancer charity in Jacksonville that supports only people in the area.

The festival begins with opening ceremonies at 8 a.m.  The schedule of events has been posted online.
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