Beware of dragons on the Ashley River this Saturday

Image by Flickr user rbglasson

The 4th Annual Charleston Dragon Boat Festival returns to the Lowcountry this Saturday.

The Ashley River will become the play place for four-foot dragon boats and their 20-person crews. The pounding of drums will fill the air around Brittlebank Park, where spectators are invited and encouraged to come out and cheer the teams on to victory.

Here's a bit of background on the races for those of you who may be unfamiliar:

The goal is for paddlers to move in unison, combining strength with teamwork in a boat whose elaborate design originates in ancient China. Dragon boats are the world's largest flat water racing canoes, propelled by a crew of 20 plus a drummer and a steersperson, provided by the Festival. Teamwork is everything in dragon boat racing. Synchronicity is more important than strength.

For a peek at what's in store, take a look back at Paul Zoeller's photo essay from the 2010 event.