ROC adds to the Chinese, American and British boats already plying the waters of
Blackstone Valley Tourism Council (BVTC) a leader in public river access in the
six unique racing vessels, each 50 feet in length come to the
new Dragon Boats will be the longest boats to ever ply the waters of the
six new Dragon Boats imported from
addition, the region also has four other Dragon Boats, built in
Rhode Island Chinese Dragon Boat Race is modeled after the world famous Dragon
Boat Festivals held around the globe. The Dragon Boats are unique racing
vessels, designed with brightly colored Dragon heads and serpentine styled. Each
Dragon boat accommodates 16 paddlers, a drummer and a steerperson. Paddlers on
the boats row to the rhythmic drum beating during the races.
probably now have more Dragon Boats that any other waterway in the country,”
Billington noted with the combined flotilla of 10 Dragon Boats.
addition to the Dragon Boats, the
Blackstone Valley Explorer launched
in 1993 is a 49 passenger riverboat offering seasonal tours along portions of
Spirit of the Blackstone Valley launched
in 1994 is a 12 passenger rivercraft providing interpretive tours in the
region’s more shallow waters.
launched in 1999 and carries 49 passengers, which was custom built to provide
commuter ferry service.
boats were all built in the
Canal Boat Samuel Slater was
launched in 2000 and built in the
can boast the fact that we have made our historic river a popular destination
for cultural tourism, recreation and environmental interpretation, because of
the investment we have made in putting residents and visitors on the river,”
during the expansion of the American Industrial Revolution, begun in the
Blackstone River Valley in the late 18th century, the Blackstone
River was transformed from 1828-1848 as the prime transportation route
connecting the farms and factories inland from Worcester, MA southeasterly to
the ports of Providence, RI , situated at the head of Narragansett Bay. In that
20 year span, the
1848 until 1989 the
upon the success of those research tours, efforts began to raise money to build
a permanent riverboat for scenic, recreational and educational tours on the
started to raise money in the early 1990’s to build our first boat, the Blackstone
Valley Explorer, which just celebrated its 11th year in operation
last month. At the time, skeptics thought we would never have the money to build
the Explorer. Since August 1993 the Explorer
alone has carried over 275 thousand passengers and has cruised on six
regional rivers because of the boat’s shallow draft,” Billington added.
1998, as a result of the significance of being located in a National Heritage
Corridor, and with increase visitation along the river, the Federal Government
more about the upcoming Chinese Dragon Boat Races in September, the BVTC and
its many tourism programs, please call 401-724-2200 or visit the web at www.tourblackstone.com
9/6/03 - The Chinese Dragon Races were a huge success - of the River, of the weather, of the friendships and exciting events and also for the strong Taiwanese collaboration with the RI Tourist Council to coordinate this 4th annual event. Thirty one teams participated, coming from New York, New Jersey, Vermont, Boston and many competitive teams from local communities. Several municipalities assembled challenging groups of up to 16 rowers per boat. Cranston, Pawtucket, Providence, Cumberland as well as an all women's team from the National Heritage Corridor, dubbed the Misfits (seen above), all worked competitively to grab various cash prizes (for charity) and a dinner for 40. Pawtucket dominated the other towns with repeated efforts throughout the heats and final competition.
Along with the growing number of teams is the growing group of spectators drawn by the exciting Chinese dancing, public speakers, including Providence Mayor David Cicilline and Cranston Mayor Stephen Laffey. RI Representative Patrick Kennedy was on hand and also rowed and placed second in one competition with his "Patrick and Patrick" team.
A huge tent , surrounded by streaming colors of Chinese silks and alluring dragons, was filled with attentive listeners as a series political and other guests, including RI Governor Donald L. Carcieri spoke of the contributors to produce this wonderful success. As the range of public speakers drew to a close, a special treat arose - 94 year old Billy Hume, along with his daughter in her 70s, played a mean harmonica and then surprised the crowd with a rousing ditty. Applause burst throughout the tent as the energy from his quick rendition was visibly engaging.
One of the special gifts highlighted was a $1000. donation from Memorial Hospital towards a Breast Cancer Awareness Race which hosted five teams. This is just one of many events being coordinated to raise funds for this cause.
The dragon race heats were running every 20 minutes or so throughout most of the day starting before 9 a.m.. Parking was close by or direct shuttle was available every twenty minutes from the Visitors Center offering plenty of parking, too. Chinese food, crafts and dancing continued throughout the day.
Blackstone Daily got a chance to speak with Rhode Island's Governor and his lovely wife, Suzanne, a retired science teacher. Both expressed concern about the watershed and the need to work with Massachusetts officials and associations to effectively continue to lessen impacts to the River and its many tributaries. The Governor expects to see that goal move forward shortly.