The 17th Annual Kaiser Permanente SF International Dragon Boat Festival is celebrating “The Year of the Water Dragon” this year, with events scheduled for Treasure Island on Saturday and Sunday.

It is the largest dragon boat festival outside of Asia and is held in the middle of San Francisco Bay. New this year – the event will feature several new international teams including paddlers from the United Kingdom, Germany and Canada.

Both days feature races from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and entrance to the Festival is free and open to the public.

For those not familiar with the sport of dragon boating, it is a boat of 20 paddlers, a drummer and a steers person, paddling to cross the finish line faster than their competition. It’s a true team sport with origins in Southern China. It is also one of the fastest growing international team water sports, with festivals held around the world.

A symbol of Chinese culture and spirit, it has roots back over 2,000 years.

Kaiser Permanente has set up a health pavilion and there will all sorts of entertainment, a kid’s area and various international food vendors.

The actual festival hours are from 10-5 with races scheduled for 8-5 each day.  Click here for more information.