Port Jefferson’s most-competitive Dragon Boat Festival to date will be hitting the Sound this Saturday, Sept. 15.

The rain-or-shine event stages at the Mayor Jeanne Garant Harborfront Park.

Sponsored by the Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce, there will be 30 teams racing.

Eight of those teams are organized clubs.

“Club teams are defined by any team that has practiced more than six times within six months before the event,” said Barbara Ransome, the chamber’s director of operations.

Last year there were only 3 club teams.

For those unfamiliar with the event, the Port Jefferson Dragon Boat Festival is a pan-Asian fest that runs all day, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

There are several awards given to the best teams —from club to novice.

According to the International Dragon Boat Federation, dragon boat racing stems from an ancient Chinese tradition and is a show of patriotism. The chamber gets help from a company called High Five, which travels across the U.S. to set up dragon boat races.

Spectators can watch the races from the park’s lawn.

In addition to the racing, there will be a variety of food vendors and live entertainment.

“We’re having a much more diverse selection of food trucks,” said Ransome. “Everything from Philly cheesesteaks to shrimp tacos… as well as Asian staples like lo-mein and dumplings.”

There will also be a bubble tea stand.

Now in the event’s 5th year, the Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce organizers say Port Jeff’s Dragon Boat Fest is blowing up; the entertainment lineup is one of the best to-date.

“We’re having the largest entertainment schedule ever,” said Ransome. “We have continuous entertainment that is broader…including two Japenese performances.”

IF YOU GO

The village parking lots surrounding the race are $.50 per half hour.

Additional parking can be found at CVS and the parking lots across from St. Charles Hospital, and the corner of Belle Terre Road and Myrtle Avenue, as well as Caroline Fields. There will be free transportation from these lots to the harbor, all provided by the Port Jeff Jitney.

Top: Stock file photo from last year’s race courtesy of Yellow House Images.

prior coverage

GPJ-TV: All about the annual Dragon Boat Race Festival in Port Jeff (watch)