Losing their heads in Solomons—Dragon Boat fest paddles on

Kingfisher's paddle boat crew wins the 2018 Solomons Dragon Boat championship
Kingfisher's dragon boat crew wins the Solomons championship

Solomons, MD - The Third annual Solomons Dragon Boat Festival drew a huge crowd to Calvert’s iconic island Saturday, Aug. 18. There was something for everyone and plenty to get excited about—most of the races were extremely close finishes. However, for most of the races there was something missing. Because some of the decorative dragon heads—made of a brittle material--were sustaining damage when vessels were being dragged out of the water, the race facilitators—22 Dragon Boats—decided to remove all the dragon heads from the 40-foot boats for the remainder of the event.

Around mid-afternoon the races were concluded and pandemonium erupted at the gazebo area of Solomons’ boardwalk when the team representing Kingfisher’s was announced as the first-place boat. “We can’t believe it,” declared team captain Bethanne Caccivio. Kingfisher’s has had a team every year in Solomons race and as the old cliché states, the third time was the charm. “We were sixth last year,” said Caccivio, who gave much credit to her co-captain and team drummer Carla Setzer for keeping Kingfisher’s 18 rowers in rhythm. In winning the top prize, Kingfisher’s bested 25 other vessels in the series of 200-meter races on the Patuxent River. The competition pitted three boats per race. The O’Brien Realty River Rats finished second and the crew of St. Aloysius Church placed third.

“Unbelievable, everything—the weather, the vendors, the enthusiasm, it was wonderful,” said Southern Maryland Community Resources Incorporated (SMCR) Executive Director Bonnie Elward. The nonprofit organization, which aids individuals with developmental differences in Calvert and St. Mary’s counties, benefits from the fundraising event. The boat crews—representing a variety of local businesses, churches and agencies—pay a substantial entry fee. Additionally, the Solomons Dragon Boat Festival receives support from its corporate sponsor, Cedar Point Federal Credit Union. The event has other corporate sponsors plus vendors—including food trucks, were located on the grounds of Our Lady Star of the Sea Church. It was in front of the church Friday evening, Aug. 17 that the traditional dotting of the dragons’ eye ceremony was held. Several of SMCR’s clients participated in the dotting ceremony.

The festivities resumed the following morning as the races got underway. During the intermission prior to the final series of races, members of the Leonardtown High School Chinese Club conducted a ceremonial parade.

Elward told that there will be a Fourth Annual Solomons Dragon Boat Festival in August 2019.

According to its web site, SMCR offers social, educational and recreational programs to its clients. They hold special events throughout the year. Ongoing events include Movie Night and Bowling Night. To learn more about SMCR, visit the agency’s web site

Contact Marty Madden at

View the 2018 festival's final race here

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