Promoting a Healthy and Diverse Community


The year was 2010 when Columbus, Ohio saw its first dragon boat on the Scioto Mile. By then the city of seven hundred ninety thousand had become a mid-sized American metropolis with a fair mixture of ethnic diversity and a reputation for wholesome, family-friendly vibe.

The two boats fielded were exhibition only, giving the public the opportunity to try them out. To complete the spectacle, Asian Festival, the non-profit organization hosting the event, recruited two paddling teams and choreographed a competition between them. Thus was born the city’s first Dragon Boat Race.

From these modest beginnings the Dragon Boat Race has grown to more than twenty contending crews. Throughout successive years the Asian Festival has hosted this annual water sport tournament, one of the festive events underneath its broad umbrella of arts and cultural outreach. Together with the Asian Games and the main festival at the Franklin Park, the Dragon Boat Race highlights the month-long Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, bringing visibility to Asian-American communities in central Ohio.

“It’s showing that they’re willing to work together — showing that their employees are out doing something for the community — and, even if they’re not Asian, it shows the cultural gap that they’re bridging …”

— Justin Shum

Assisted by dozens of volunteers, veteran organizers of the Asian Festival work alongside recently recruited members to stage the event. The committee includes:

Karen Jiobu, Victor Shambora, Justin Shum Oversight and team outreach
Dr. Yung-Chen Lu, Manju Sankarappa, Cora Munoz Asian Festival Officers
Dr. Yung-Chen Lu Team recruitment
Sally and Tony Paz, Karen Jiobu Site planning
Matthew Mawhorter, Greg Thirtyacre III, Mory Furhmann, Josie Blevins Food, transportation, vendors
Austin Chen Volunteer recruitment
Jeff Luo, Darin Young, Kimberly Huncherick, Dennis Chua Website, digital media and marketing


A hearty welcome to all the competing teams and to all visitors and well-wishers. Cheers!