Dragon Boat Race

The White River is an important, underused resource in Indianapolis. This event is designed to increase awareness about the River and raise money to protect and improve it and its tributaries.

The inaugural White River Dragon Boat Race is an opportunity to raise funds for the White River Alliance and enjoy a safe, fun, community-wide competition on this one-of-a-kind resource in Indianapolis.

The Race

The dragon boats are coming to Indy as part of the 8th Annual White River Festival. The event serves as the Alliance’s annual fundraiser, helping to protect and improve our water.

Dragon boat racing originated over 2000 years ago in China where the tradition remains strong, and it’s popularity in the West has been growing since the 1970s. The ultimate team sport, dragon boats are 46-foot long vessels propelled by a coordinated crew of 22 – 20 paddlers, a drummer who keeps the pace, and a steerer who guides the craft.

Paddling has gained popularity for women recovering from breast cancer and survivor teams can be found all over the world. This race is co-sponsored by Indy’s own SurviveOars, a BCS team with headquarters at Geist Reservoir.

Indy’s race will occur at White River State Park with races running from the New York Street bridge toward the pedestrian bridge between WRSP and the Indianapolis Zoo.

Make a Donation for an Existing Team


The inaugural Dragon Boat Race is planned for September 29, 2018 in Indianapolis at White River State Park.

Opening ceremonies will start at 8:00am with races beginning at 8:30am. Festivities will conclude early to mid-afternoon depending on the competition.

One or two 75 minute practice sessions with professional trainers will be scheduled for each team between September 26-28. All teams are required to attend one practice session. Get a priority time slot choice by increasing your sponsorship level! More information about sponsorship/participation levels are outlined in the Sponsorship Packet.

Team Captains have additional responsibilities leading up to the event and the day of the event. Details can be found in the Captain’s Packet.

Race Day Schedule

Spectator Guide

Race a Dragon Boat

Single-team Participating Sponsorships cost $1500 and include additional benefits. Supporting Sponsorships cost $5000 and include TWO boat teams and many other recognition opportunities.

For full sponsorship and event details, please see the Sponsor Packet and the Captain’s Packet.

Teams can register online or submit the forms in the packet to the White River Alliance.

Registration closes September 12!

Need a Place to Stay the Night?

Do you have team members staying overnight? We have a special rate for a block of rooms at the JW Marriott. Click here to make a reservation.

Start Your Team’s Fundraising

Did your team elect to do some individual fundraising? Click here to find your team and make a donation.


The White River Dragon Boat Race and Festival offers a lot of award opportunities – some Boat Race-related, some not! Visit our Awards & Recipients page for more information.

Boat Race Awards

There will be awards and bragging rights for the first, second, and third place race teams, as well as an Outstanding Team Spirit Award. The Outstanding Team Spirit Award goes to the team that demonstrates its commitment to fun and camaraderie by way of team tent decorations, team uniform/outfits/costumes, the best dressed or most enthusiast drummer, team-led cheers or songs, etc.

White River Alliance Stewardship Awards

As the annual fundraising event for the White River Alliance, we like to also take time to recognize the important work, commitment, and enthusiasm that is expressed year-round by many members in our community. Three White River Watershed Stewardship Awards will be given out this year at the Dragon Boat Race and Festival as well. Nominations are due September 7, 2018 by 5 PM.

Awards include:

Exceptional Commitment to Watershed Protection

Distinguished Member of the Year

Extraordinary Supporter of Water Stewardship

(Note, the Extraordinary Supporter of Water Stewardship Award is tied to Dragon Boat Race team fundraising, check out the Captain’s Packet for more information about this important opportunity).


Special thanks to this year’s Presenting Sponsor, White River Vision Plan.

The White River Vision Plan is a joint effort between the City of Indianapolis and Hamilton County Tourism, Inc. in partnership with Visit Indy’s philanthropic arm, Tourism Tomorrow, Inc. The partnership is working to develop a comprehensive and coordinated regional, community-driven plan to enhance 58 miles of the White River in Marion and Hamilton counties. Consider getting involved!


Thanks to event co-host Indy SurviveOars!

Indy SurviveOars is an organization that brings breast cancer survivors together through the sport of dragon boat racing.  The group offers hope, inspiration, and camaraderie to breast cancer survivors focusing on health and physical activity.  Learn more and support Indy’s SurviveOars.


Help us recognize all of our sponsors – be part of this awesome group that’s supporting the protection of the White River!