KARM Dragon Boat Races June 18

The Farragut community can have fun teaming up to participate in the 14th annual Knox Area Rescue Ministries Dragon Boat Festival, the Race with a Mission.

The event is slated to take place from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, June 18, at The Cove at Concord Park, 11808 S. North-shire Drive, Concord. It will offer high-intensity boat races, music and food.

Last year, 42 teams raced 41-foot Hong Kong-style boats across the water and raised more than $190,000 for KARM. This year’s goal is $215,000.

The KARM Dragon Boat Festival is the oldest and largest dragon boat race in East Tennessee and one of the largest fundraisers for KARM, Sue Renfro, KARM director of marketing and communications, said.

She expects it will attract thousands. Last year, it attracted more than 3,500 attendees.

“We are so appreciative having it in the Farragut area at the Cove,” Renfro said.

“We enjoy having it. It helps spread the footprint of KARM and bring the message of helping those in need in our community — feeding the hungry and sheltering the homeless.

“We always have wonderful support from the West Knoxville and Farragut communities, and I think everyone enjoys it.”

She said more than 40 corporate and community teams are expected to participate in this year’s event, at which participants can compete for such awards as fastest race times, highest fundraisers, best team spirit and more.

New this year is a junior division category for children from 8 to 11 years old; however, there is limited availability for those participants, so Renfro encourages families to sign up quickly.

The festival, which is free and open to the public, is a family-friendly event in a safe environment, where everyone can enjoy a day on the water, she said.

“In addition to the boat races, there are children’s activities, a drummer’s parade, where all the drummers dress in costume, and a lot of color,” Renfro said.

Not only will the drummers bring color, participants can win for the best decorated tent and best team name.

Those who are not on dragon boat teams still can support KARM by attending and by helping teams raise money, she said.

“There also will be opportunities inside [the Cove] and online to donate as well,” she said.

Teams can register online at karm.org/dragonboats/ or by calling 865-633-7623 or e-mailing to jnelson@karm.org.