Festival Day

The 19th annual Barrie Dragon Boat Festival will be held on Saturday, August 19, 2023 at Heritage Park in Barrie! 

 Learn more about what to expect on Festival Day using the links below. 

Location Details

The Barrie Dragon Boat Festival is located at Heritage Park in Barrie, Ontario; see our map with main roads on how to get there. 

Please note that there is some confusion between Centennial Park, and Heritage Park. Heritage Park is off of Simcoe Street, and to the east of the City of Barrie landmark, the Spirit Catcher. 

Heritage Park 
6 Simcoe St., Barrie ON, L4M 1A1  

Team Village: on grass in Heritage Park in front of large pond (facing gazebo) 
Loading Docks: City of Barrie Marina (adjacent to Team Village) 
Races: on Kempenfelt Bay, parallel to the shore of Heritage Park  

Parking 

Parking is available throughout Downtown Barrie. 

 

 

Awakening the Dragon Ceremony

The Dragons come alive bright and early on Festival morning!   

Each year, we begin our day with the traditional Awakening the Dragon Ceremony at the festival docks. The ceremony is hosted by the Library’s CEO, who is joined by a small group of special guests that take part in the Eye Dotting Ceremony. The guests paint dots in the dragons eyes, waking them up to competition and calling on the strength of the dragon to protect the boats and their crews.  

The Awakening the Dragon Ceremony typically begins around 7:00am. 

Hand reaching down to paint the eye on a dragon boat head

Memory Moment

For years, there has been a strong association between dragon boat racing and breast cancer survivors. Anyone on the waterfront during the Barrie Dragon Boat Festival will quickly see the connection at our festival.   

Each year, the Fest is honoured to have the presence of various cancer survivor teams - promoting awareness of the disease, demonstrating the vitality that survivors can have in their lives after battling cancer, and raising money for cancer care and research.  

Festival organizers include a Memory Moment ceremony to honour this connection. During this event, Barrie’s Ribbons of Hope and Candlelighters Simcoe take a moment to honour the many lives of those who are no longer among us, while sharing their stories and placing pink & yellow carnations into the water.   

The Memory Moment takes place immediately following all races in the first heat.  

Paddlers gather around the Heritage Park pond with carnations

Festival Awards

There are many winners at the Barrie Dragon Boat Festival! We have a variety of awards, ranging from Challenge Cups and Divisional Awards to Rookie of the Year, Best Dressed, and Spirit Award. Learn more about our Festival Awards

Close up of trophies and medals on a table