Dragon Boat Festival 2023

A Myrtle Beach ministry for middle school and high school students kicked off its annual Dragon Boat Festival on Saturday.

This year’s festival brought thousands to the Grand Strand as friends and family cheered on teams aiming to have the fastest time on the water.

Aside from the hard work of the steering and the paddling, each paddler paid $250 to paddle. That money raised is going towards Ground Zero’s overall mission.

“We are out here in our community today raising funds and having a great time with the people that matter the most, our community,” said Stephanie Sebring, the Advance Director for Ground Zero. “So, whether you have a teenager, whether you just run into teenagers, everything that Ground Zero does affects everyone in our community.”

Lori Caplan, another paddler at the event, shared she recently lost her father who enjoyed raising money for organizations like Ground Zero, and entered the competition to honor him.

“This is my second year,” said Caplan. “Last year I was just a participant, this year we have a whole group of friends raising money and supporting the cause for Ground Zero and representing my dad.”

Other contestants shared similar sentiments for participating in the festival.

“Giving back to the community in any way shape or form is really what makes us great. So I want to do it in any way we can,” said Tom Walsh, a paddler at the festival.