by Hunter Dawkins

“Fire on the Lake” was the theme for this year’s 4th Annual Mississippi Gulf Coast Dragon Boat Festival held at The Dock Bar & Grill off Seaway Road in Gulfport and certainly lived up to the competitive spirit.  As Kathy Springer, CEO of United Way of South Mississippi, stated the top four teams finished with 1 second of each other.  

According to historical research, dragon boat racing has its roots in an ancient folk ritual of contending villagers, which began nearly 2000 years throughout southern China, and even further to the original games of ancient Greece.  These teams compete raising money for the United Way of South Mississippi.

With many prizes being rewarded, Regions Bank won the overall trophy with a speed of 1:01.8.  The runners-up were Mississippi Power finishing second and Team Yeast coming in third.

Other teams won category prizes, included Top Ship receiving multiple awards from the Wild Card to the Titans of the Sea, the main sponsor of the festival Keesler Federal Credit Union being honored for the lipstick on the dragon boat, and seven additional accolades for other teams.

Before the prizes were given, Springer thanked the teams for their community-giving purpose and her staff at the United Way of South Mississippi for the job they accomplished.