CHINATOWN — Thousands of onlookers are expected to converge on the Chicago River’s South Branch during the annualDragon Boat Race for Literacy.
Now in its 14th year, the race is a fundraiser that draws dozens of teams from local companies and community organizations. The races begin launching at 8 a.m. Saturday from Ping Tom Memorial Park, 1700 S. Wentworth Ave.
This year, 30 teams will compete in the ornately decorated dragon boats, each holding 20 people — 18 paddlers, one flag catcher and one drummer. Proceeds from the teams, which raised money to compete, are headed to local literacy groups.
Gov. Pat Quinn will help kick off the ceremonies at 9 a.m. Saturday.
The race is hosted by the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce and the Chinatown Community Foundation in conjunction with many city groups.
Aside from the racing action, the day will be filled with kids activities and theatrics from performing troupes, including Cirque Shanghai and Upbeat Music. Food trucks and other vendors will also be on hand.
Because parking in Chinatown is scarce, organizers are asking visitors to take public transportation to the park, which is accessible after a short walk from the CTA Red Line Chinatown Cermak station and the Archer and Cermak Avenue buses.
A free shuttle will take visitors from the Red Line station to the riverfront park from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.