The Hippo


Feb 27, 2020








Dragons take over the Merrimack river during the Weekend on the Water event. Courtesy photo.

Weekend on the Water

Where: Kiwanis Riverfront Park (Loudon Road, Concord)
When: Saturday, Sept. 6, 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, Sept. 7, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Cost: Admission is free, but bring money for vendors, some activities and tickets to the Capital Cup Brewfest
Call: 225-8690


Imagine dragons
Spend a Weekend on the Water in Concord


Imagine living in a world where humans can ride dragons down a river and giant ducks through a city.
You can find that world during Weekend on the Water at Kiwanis Riverfront Park in Concord on Saturday, Sept. 6, and Sunday, Sept. 7.
The event will feature dragon boat racing Saturday, duck boat tours Saturday and Sunday, and several other water-based activities throughout the weekend, including the Concord Crew Regatta and a rubber duck race, both happening Sunday. The Capital Cup Brew Fest will take place Saturday, and a beer garden will be set up along the river both days. There will also be kids activities, a climbing wall and live music both Saturday and Sunday. Sunday also features the Friendly Kitchen 5K and 2.5K Fitness Walk, a mini craft fair and an old-fashioned bake sale. 
If the event is anything like its inaugural year last year, dragon boat racing will be the main attraction.
Dragon boat racing not be the biggest of American sports, but internationally, Laura Bryant said, it is very well-known. When Bryant, the recreation supervisor with the Concord Parks and Recreation Department, heard about a place in Montreal that rents dragon boats, she quickly formulated an idea for a weekend event that would feature dragon boat racing as its premier attraction. The event in 2013 marked the first time in New Hampshire history where a dragon boat race was held.
“We had the perfect spot right by the Kiwanis, and we thought it would be a great end of the summer event,” said Bryant. “We have a great river that is terribly underutilized.”
The dragon races are similar to crew races. Each boat consists of 22 people, including a drummer who keeps the rowers in time. According to Bryant, some people go so far as to dress up in elaborate Chinese clothing to remind spectators of the history behind the races.
The races will be held tournament style, with boats being seeded in a bracket based on time. Several local businesses, according to Bryant, will be racing against each other on Saturday, including RBC Wealth Management, the Rotary Club of Concord, Lincoln Financial and more. They’re also hosting a professional team from Boston called Living Root Dragon Boat Inc., which races dragon boats in events all over the world.
On a smaller scale, Bryant said that Sunday will host a rubber duck race. Geared more towards the kids than the dragon boat races, the race will feature several small rubber ducks hitting the water all at the same time. The ducks will race down the Merrimack, and the first three that make it through the shoot will be named the winners.
“You can buy a ticket number for your duck and based on how many ducks are sold, you can win some prize money,” said Bryant. “Last year, the grand prize was $1,000.”
Bryant based her event, which is in its second year, on a different program that was in previous years called the River Jam. When she became recreation supervisor in 2012, she recycled the use of the river for a more family-friendly event.
According to Bryant, the first year ran as a trial year, as they weren’t exactly sure what sort of demographic to expect.
“We had a lot of families come down and check it out, so we’re starting to focus more on family and kids activities,” she said. “We kept the climbing wall from last year, and we added bounce houses, carnival games [and] trains giving rides around.”
The event is also hosting the Capital Cup Brew Festival with the Black Ice Pond Hockey Association. Chris Brown, a committee member with Weekend on the Water, said the association was inspired to run the festival — one of the first of its kind in Concord — based on the success of craft brew festivals in other towns in the state. In-state brewers such as 603, Tuckerman’s and Stone Face will be attending as well as some of out-of-state brewers.
“It [the brew fest] adds strong pillars to the foundation of a great event,” he said. 
The Black Ice Association is also competing in the dragon boat races again this year. Brown said watching local players and committee members who are novice rowers made for a good time last year.
“They had just the right amount of beer,” he laughed. 

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