Dragon boats will be taking over Echo Park this weekend

ECHO PARK (KABC) -- Dragon boat racing has been a tradition at Lotus Festival for more than 30 years.

"It's the Chinese community who started it," said Leonardo Pandac, President of the Lotus Festival. "It's been carried on by the festival and it's been accepted by everybody so we have public officials, community organizations and individuals who participate every year."

The race consists of two dragon boats, the black dragon and the red dragon.

There are eight people per boat, half women and half men. You start at one end of the lake, paddle to the other side and turn back.

"You're essentially racing against everybody who's racing on Saturday or Sunday to get the best time," said Karli Stander, a participant on Mayor Garcetti's team.

Everyone in the race gets at least one time to practice.

"It's really nice to be able to join with other folks in the city. People from lots of different neighborhoods come out and have a friendly but fierce competition," said Stander.

The dragon boat races will start at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday and at noon on Sunday.
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