The 16th Annual Ground Zero Dragon Boat Festival Returns to Market Common

The 16th Annual Ground Zero Dragon Boat Festival Returns to Market Common

Dragon Boats, Good Vibes, and Making a Splash for Teens

Paddles up, Myrtle Beach! The 16th Annual Ground Zero Dragon Boat Festival is cruising into The Market Common on Saturday, April 27, 2024, from 9 AM to 4 PM. It’s not just any day at the lake; it’s a heart-pumping, paddle-smashing extravaganza that brings together the thrill of the sport with the warmth of community spirit for a cause that’s changing lives—one teen at a time.

Hosting this adrenaline-infused bash is Ground Zero, a beacon for teens navigating those rollercoaster years. Thanks to Scott and Kimberly Payseur, for a quarter-century, this nonprofit has been all about creating spaces for teens to “Go, Belong, and Grow.” 

“We establish authentic relationships with students and teach them how to do the same, empowering them by sharing tools they can use in their daily lives to impact the world around them,” Scott says. “And we do it by focusing on sharing fun, wholesome, and rewarding experiences with them— both as a means to uplift, as well as to expose them to healthy ways of having a good time.”

Imagine teaming up with 21 pals (or soon-to-be pals) in a sleek boat, dragon-headed and ready to slice through water. Your mission: paddle in harmony to the beats banged out by your team’s drummer, racing against the clock and the competition in a spectacle that’s as much about unity as it is about speed.

But that’s not all—this festival is a feast for the senses and the heart as spectators watch the excitement for free. Picture yourself soaking in the energy of live DJ beats, getting drawn into the spectacle of a drummer costume contest, and cheering at the top of your lungs during the nail-biting final race!

More Than a Race Day

Sure, the dragon boats are the stars of the show, but the festival’s vibe is an all-day party. Wander among food trucks serving up mouthwatering bites, local vendors showcasing their crafts, and a family fun zone that promises giggles and memories for the little ones. It’s a day packed with activities that celebrate community, courage, and the sheer joy of competition.

Everyone’s Invited

Now in its sixteenth year, the festival beckons thousands to the shores of Market Common’s lake, all eager to witness the spectacle of ornately decorated dragon boats cutting through the water. These vessels, steered by professionals to keep the course true, carry teams from every walk of life—schools, families, businesses, HOAs, medical groups, gyms, you name it. It’s a melting pot of community spirit, all rowing in sync for glory and a good cause.

Forming a team is a call to action for anyone looking to make waves, both on the water and in the lives of local teens. With a fundraising goal of $250 per paddler, Ground Zero sets the stage for a communal effort, rallying teams to pool resources, energy, and support to hit the water with everything they’ve got.

Ready to be part of something bigger? Whether you’re there to compete, cheer, or just chill, the 16th Annual Ground Zero Dragon Boat Festival promises a day of unforgettable excitement and camaraderie. Remember, it’s all for a brilliant cause, supporting Ground Zero in its quest to give teenagers a place to go, belong and grow. So, grab that paddle, don that costume, or just bring your best cheer—this is one adventure you won’t want to miss.

Rachel Alcazar

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Rachel, an award-winning designer and 2018 Winthrop University Graphic Design graduate, excelled in a rigorous program while actively engaging in community service. Her senior year included an internship at Little Red Bird in Charlotte, honing skills in print and digital media. Since joining Real Living, Rachel has become an invaluable team member, contributing to diverse marketing projects—postcards, newsletters, booklets, social media graphics, and more. Her passion lies in translating abstract ideas into tangible materials, aiding agents in selling clients' homes.