Enter the dragon

Gable Events and MacIntyre are celebrating Chinese New Year by inviting entries into the 19th Milton Keynes Dragon Boat Festival.

This popular annual event returns to Willen Lake in Milton Keynes on Saturday 27 June when more than 40 crews are expected to battle it out in brightly painted Chinese dragon boats over the 200m race course, watched by several thousand spectators.

New for 2020, the festival will be using smaller 30ft (up to 11 people) dragon boats with reduced entry fees to make it easier for companies and organisations of all sizes to enter teams.

Dragon boat racing has an ancient Chinese history, dating back 2,000 years to the Kingdom of Chu, when local fishermen used their paddles to stave off vicious fish in a valiant attempt to save drowning warrior poet Qu Yuan. Their efforts failed and in Hong Kong a Dragon Boat Festival (Tuen Ng) is held annually as a re-enactment of this tragic event.

According to the Chinese Zodiac, 2020 is the Year of the Rat. People born in this year are believed to be energetic, outgoing, enthusiastic and high achievers.

Each crew comprises up to 10 paddlers, a drum beater at the front of the boat and a steering helm at the tail end. The dragon boats and all racing equipment are provided, each team receives three races and no previous experience is required, just plenty of team spirit.

The festival promises an entertaining day for competitors and spectators, with catering and bankside entertainment for all the family between races.

The festival offers an opportunity to raise cash for MacIntyre, a national charity based in Milton Keynes that supports more than 1,200 children, young people and adults who have a learning disability or autism.

For crews opting for the popular gold and silver entry packages, a significant donation to MacIntyre is included in the entry fee alongside marketing benefits such as the company logo on the sides of a dragon boat.

The crew raising the most money for MacIntyre will receive a special escape room prize courtesy of ‘Don’t get locked in’ near Leighton Buzzard.

Head of fundraising, Claire Kennedy, said: ‘MacIntyre is delighted to be the official charity for the 2020 Milton Keynes Dragon Boat Festival. Financial constraints in the social care sector mean that income we receive from fundraising is more important than ever.

‘We use fundraised income to buy the extras that make a real and tangible difference to the people we support. Every penny received will go directly to benefit the people we support; nothing is deducted for administrative costs.’

How to join in

For further information and an entry form, visit or call Gable Events on 01780 470718. For information about MacIntyre, visit or call 01908 230100.         
Milton Keynes Dragon Boat Festival photos courtesy of Event-Photos

January 22, 2020