Participants compete in a dragon boat race in Chicago, the United States, June 22, 2019. (Xinhua/Wang Ping)
CHICAGO, June 22 (Xinhua) -- The 2019 Chicago Dragon Boat Race kicked off on the south branch of the Chicago River Saturday morning, with 34 dragon boat teams participating in this year's competition.
Each team consists of over 20 members: 18 paddlers, one drummer, one flag catcher and several substitutes. The paddlers rowed their beautifully decorated boats to the beat of the drummer, while the flag catcher pulled the flag positioned in the water at the finish line.
Many U.S. big companies organized teams to compete. United Airlines named its boat as Sky Dragons; Coleman, U.S. Bank, HSBC, American Airlines (AA) also had their own teams. HSBC and AA have participated in the competition for several years.
Horseshoe Casino and Ameristar Casino and Hotel for the first time became sponsors of the dragon boat race.
Chinese Consul-General in Chicago Zhao Jian was invited to the attend the event. He said in the opening ceremony that Chicago Dragon Boat Race symbolizes a great love for the Chinese communities, commending all the efforts made behind the race, and calling for cultural exchanges and cooperation between Chinese communities and other people in the United States.
Organized by Chicago Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, the Chicago Dragon Boat Race came into its 19th session this year.
"The original intention in organizing the event is to spread Chinese culture, let more Americans have a knowledge of traditional Chinese culture and participate in traditional Chinese cultural activities," Vanessa Lambert, executive director of Chicago Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, told Xinhua.
In Chicago, the annual Dragon Boat race is also a charitable activity. Each year, the Chicago Chinatown Chamber of Commerce donates a portion of proceeds from the event to local schools and organizations. In 2018, the proceeds funded 12 elementary and middle schools in the Chicago area.
It is estimated that more than 10,000 visitors attended the event this year.