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Change of venue: Chinese Dragon Boat Festival moved from Veterans Park Lagoon due to blue-green algae

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MILWAUKEE -- On Saturday, August 12th, the Chinese Dragon Boat Festival makes its fifth return to Milwaukee, but the venue has been changed this year due to a problem in the water. It was supposed to be at the Veterans Park Lagoon, but because of potentially lethal levels of blue-green algae, the festival is now being held in Lakeshore State Park.

In this story

Dragon boat racing is easy to do, but hard to master. It's a style of racing on the water that dates back more than 2,000 years.

"A dragon boat is essentially a 41-foot long canoe," said Pat Bradley, Panam Dragon Boat racer.

Dragon Boat Festival

The Chinese Dragon Boat Festival is meant to serve as a complete immersion into Chinese culture. The dragon boat races are the main attraction.

Dragon Boat Festival

"When I think about dragon boat racing, I think about team work. Just people having a lot of fun and exercise on the water," said Bradley.

These boats are massive! They accommodate roughly 20 rowers. In the back is where the driver sits, and in the front is the drummer. They help everybody keep pace.

The races will go on during the entire festival, but if you're looking for a change in scenery, you won't have to go far.

"Not only that, we will have the cultural event and we will have food there," said Susa Siy, Dragon Boat Festival.

Dragon Boat Festival

Dragon Boat Festival

"There's a lot of drumming. The coaches are yelling, the drummers are yelling. There's a lot of water being splashed -- and the boats can hit like 16 kilometers an hour, so they're moving pretty fast sometimes," said Bradley.

Organizers stressed the change in venue is not only for spectators' safety, but also that of the athletes.

The event is scheduled to kick off at 8:00 a.m. in Lakeshore State Park on August 12th.

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