Bedford Dragon-Boat Festival

Ah, the Dragon Boat Festival.  I hadn’t ever heard of a Dragon Boat Festival until I was looking at my historical society book and noticed it.  Once I saw the word Dragon, attendance became a Must.  I mean, how can any real traveler avoid an event with the word Dragon in it.  Especially if you’re American.  Dragons?  Seriously I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t attend such an event.

So, I found a place to park and made my way towards the venue and quite soon met a band making their way to the Park to play.  They were stopping in at a local pub to prepare and invited me but I was intent on seeing the festivities and continued on. As is the case with virtually every place I visited in England, the city was neat, clean, orderly and bustling with activity.

I finally reached the riverbanks and park where the festival was taking place and it was lined with vendors selling hand made goods as well as the normal festival foods. I walked the outer area to get a view of the goods for sale and found quite a few interesting things.  There was wine, cheese, wooden goods, candles,  jellies, meats, you name it and someone had a home made version.  I purchased some of the local fares and proceeded into the main grounds to see what was going on.

As I approached the river the races were underway and I noticed that there were a variety of boats, some appeared to be made in a garage and were not actually boats.  There were actually boats of various types but the most interesting races seem to be the ones with contraptions that floated and were filled with groups of people paddling furiously.

I’m not sure how the winner is determined as I didn’t actually see any team cross the finish line although I’m sure they did but it looked like fun.  I think the point is actually the fun of it and not actually winning. You can see by the pictures that there was a stage for performers, boat races and a mob of people wandering about.

I turned out to be great fun and everyone was friendly during the time I wandered around, especially when they realized I was an American.

The venue was filled with people just lounging around in a campground type atmosphere.

As you can see the boats were of a variety of types, some traditional and some made in a garage.

There was a paved walkway that snaked around the perimeter and at one point you come upon the main entry way.

The sound stage was busy all day with bands of various types playing all day.

There was something for everyone.  There were boat races, inflatable rides for the kids, places to lay out, enjoy the day, eat or whatever.

There appeared to be many categories of boat races during the day.  I saw traditional boats that hold one or more people as well as some conglomerations that floated and could technically be called boats as they did float.

Something I particularly liked about England were all the staged events by Knights and Dragons as you can see here as they prepare for another event.  We don’t have this type of thing in the states or at least I’m unaware of it so these types of things are quite interesting.

Anyhow, I had a great time and if you’re ever in England, be sure to attend something with Knights dragons and boats. A great time was had by all.

Have a look at some of the many pictures I took

Bedford Dragonboat pictures                  Bedford Dragonboat Pictures


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