Syracuse Inner Harbor Fest

Posted on August 23, 2023

Syracuse Inner Harbor Fest


Enjoy the Syracuse Inner Harbor and all it has to offer at this three-day festival. (SEPT 29 – OCT 1) featuring dragon boat racing to benefit Clear Path for Veterans. The festival is family-friendly and includes food trucks, live music, carnival rides, craft vendors, yard games, a 5K race, and a dragon boat eye dotting ceremony, as well as fireworks and dragon boat races on the water.

Friday Sept. 29th: 4pm - 10pm
Saturday Sept. 30th: 8am - 10pm
Sunday Oct. 1st: 11am - 7pm

COR Development and OMF Events present the 1st annual Inner Harbor Fest at Syracuse’s waterfront neighborhood.

Enjoy the Syracuse Inner Harbor and all it has to offer at this three-day festival. (SEPT 29 – OCT 1) including dragon boat races to benefit Clear Path for Veterans. Clear Path for Veterans is a community-based nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that provides support, comfort, and healing to veterans and their families.

This family-friendly event includes:

  • Food Trucks & Craft Beers
  • Live Musical Entertainment 
  • Carnival Rides
  • Friday Night Dragon Boat Eye Doting Ceremony
  • Friday Night Fireworks on the Harbor (Presented by Rapid Response Monitoring Services, Inc.)
  • Saturday Dragon Boat Races on the Water (Presented by Equitable)
  • Craft Vendors
  • Yard Games
  • Sunday Inner Harbor 5K & More

Dragon boat racing is a fun-filled, adrenaline pumping water sport activity. 

Teams compete in Dragon Boats (provided by 22 Dragons), which are large canoe-like vessels crafted with ornately carved dragon's heads and tails.

Crews of 10 to 20 people max and 1 drummer sit in pairs and paddle to compete in races over distances of around 180m (200 yards). Each boat has a drummer beating time to keep the paddlers in unison, and a professional helmsperson in the stern to guide the boat. Minimum age for paddlers is 12, anyone under 16 years of age needs to be with a parent or guardian in the boat. 

Each team can participate in a racing how-to seminar and a 1-hour practice during the week leading up to the race. Each team will be assigned a 1-hour practice time on one of the three designated practice days. During this session, you and your fellow paddlers will learn the technique needed for dragon boat racing and prepare you for race day. 

Here is a short clip about Dragon Boat Racing:

22Dragons Start a Dragon Boat Team - YouTube

How can I participate? 


The 2023 Syracuse Inner Harbor Dragon Boat Festival offers a day of great fun and team building for novice or intermediate community teams, as well as an opportunity for competitive sport teams to compete.


Increase company exposure to hundreds of event participants and spectators of all ages and help raise money for Clear Path for Veterans. See detailed information in the Sponsorship Package.


Our volunteers are critical to running a seamless event to ensure all participants have the best experience possible. Please email to let us know if you're interested. 


We encourage the local community to join us for a fun-filled day of dragon boat racing and entertainment in support of Clear Path for Veterans. 


Whether an organization, food vendor, or independent business, we encourage vendors to participate so they can help build their brand while supporting the event. Please email to let us know if you're interested. 

What happens on Race Day? 

Your team should arrive at the Syracuse Inner Harbor at least one hour prior to your first race. Note: Team Captains plan to arrive at the Syracuse Inner Harbor at least 90 minutes prior to your first race to allow time to park and get to the festival site. You will also want time to set up your site as a gathering place for your team. Your team captain should check-­in your team on the day of the race at the registration tent. There we will double-­check that all waivers are in order, and the team captain will receive enough wrist bands for each member on their team who has turned in a signed waiver. All paddlers must wear a wristband, so we know who belongs in the boats. Captains with last­-minute roster changes can make them at the Registration Tent during check-­in.

Each team will race three times, two qualifying races and one final, everyone ends up in a final. There will be three heats. The average times of those heats will determine where you will be placed in the finals depending on which Division you are in. Additional divisions may be added depending on the teams that register. All racing is head-to-head, meaning two boats race at a time. All races are timed electronically with a finish line camera. 

See detailed information in the Captains Package.

Find out more here

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