Dragon boats will be in the water again in 2022!

The seventh annual Gulf Coast Dragon Boat Festival, a key fundraiser for UWSM, will be held at The Dock on Seaway Road in Gulfport on Friday, April 29 and Saturday, April 30, 2022!

Race participants and sponsors are encouraged to sign up early. Both participant and non-participant sponsorship levels are available. A team sponsorship costs $1,600 for businesses and $1,300 for nonprofit organizations. A sponsorship packet can be downloaded at www.uwdragonboat.com.

Volunteer opportunities are also available, and anyone interested in volunteering can contact Kellee Caldwell, Director of Volunteers and Special Projects, at kcaldwell@unitedwaysm.org.

During the festival, teams, consisting of employees from businesses and nonprofits, race in 46-foot-long boats to the finish line in various heats. Teams consist of 20 paddlers, a cox who steers the dragon boat from the rear and a drummer who sits at the front.

The festival will also feature live entertainment, a crawfish boil, activities for children and other fun!

Festival proceeds directly benefit UWSM, which seeks to improve the health, education and financial stability of all people in Hancock, Harrison, Pearl River and Stone counties.

In the 2021-2023 grant cycle, UWSM awarded $430,000 in community impact grants to 12 area nonprofits. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, UWSM awarded over $430,000 to our community partners for rapid response to those affected by COVID-19 for housing assistance, utilities assistance, food, medications, PPE and basic needs.

UWSM also operates PreK4Ward, which offers free preschool to 180 children; savings programs, including the SingleCare prescription discount card and free tax preparation services; Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, which delivers one book each month to children from birth to age 5; United Way Readers, which pairs adult volunteers with children to provide reading practice; and the Little Free Library program, which promotes neighborhood book exchanges through free public bookcases.

For more information on the festival, contact Mignon Bouchon, Director of Resource Development, at (228) 896-2213 or at mbouchon@unitedwaysm.org.

Thank you to our amazing sponsors that help make this year’s Dragon Boat possible!