45 teams will Race The Dragon in Day-1 of the 2024 Bradford Dragon Boat Festival

Teams from around the Bradford region will converge on Roberts Park on Saturday 20 July 2024 to Race The Dragon in Day two (The Lord Mayor’s Championship) of the annual Bradford Dragon Boat Festival. more than £ 30,000 is expected to be raised.  Funds from this event will support the Lords Mayors Appeal.

The Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Gerry Barker, has chosen Bradford Cinderella Club as his charity of the year 2023-24, providing treats to underprivileged children since its first event in Thackley Woods in 1890.

Bradford Cinderella Club is within the DNA of the people of Bradford

If you would like to support the Lords Mayors appeal in any way, please give the Bradford Lords Mayor Appeal office a call on 01274 434965

Thank you for your support!

Event information

The day starts off at 8:30 with participant check in, after which the first teams will be called up for their safety briefing.  Each team is given a full safety briefing before their first race, which along with best paddle technique and how to stop the boat capsizing as well as what to do in the event of a capsize.  Race The Dragon wristbands will then be issued to every team member at the briefing, which then allows them access to the waterside of the event and the dragon boats.

A dragon boat team has a maximum 16 paddlers and a drummer per race. You may wish to have additional team members to rotate between races during the day.

Racing is over a course of 200 meters with the start just beyond the cricket pavilion and the finish in front on the crowds in Roberts Park.  Each team will have a minimum three timed races where their single fastest time only will count for Grand Final qualification.  What this means is, even if two of your races are both disasters, one great time is still all you need to be in with a good chance of going through to the Grand Final race.

After each race, the scores will be announced over the event p.a.and then put up on the event scoreboard and the festival’s BIG screen TV for everyone to see and compare. What you will be aiming to achieve is an opportunity to compete in the last race of the day … the Grand Final.  This will be a race where the top three teams from across all the qualifying heats will race once more in the most competitive race of the day.  The Grand Final will be a 3-boat race to the finish where first across will be declared: Lord Mayors Champions of Bradford 2024.

Team work is vital if a fast time is going to be achieved and for this reason, the instructors will also give ‘on the water’ training to help with technique.  Over the distance we race, fitness is not a key factor – technique however is.  So it does not matter if your team is made up of just 12 paddlers or 16, because it’s a team sprint where team work and timing is everything.

The event will finish with our award ceremony where team trophies were awarded to the Captain’s of the top three teams and Winner’s Medals to each member of the winning team.  It’s a brilliant day out.

Along with the dragon boat racing, there will also be ethnic and international food vendors each serving their diverse range of wonderful foods, bar outlets, market stalls and a whole host of traders, some of which we know will have traveled from overseas just to be at this festival.

The Bradford Dragon Boat Festival is already the largest event of it’s kind in the UK today.  Designed as a free to spectate festival, the event is organised by the community of Bradford for the community of Bradford.

Where is the event?

Roberts Park
Higher Coach Rd
Shipley BD17 7LU