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Boats, beer and dragons on the Southwest waterfront

Saturday - 8/23/2014, 6:22am  ET

dragon_1000 AP
Dragon boat drummer Kathleen Tong, puts a number on her team's boat as they prepare to race during the 18th annual dragon boat festival in the Queens,New York, in 2008. Check out the D.C. Dragon Boat Festival Saturday in Southwest.

WASHINGTON -- What's 40 feet long and zips along the water at about ten miles an hour? Head down to the Southwest water front Saturday morning and see.

It's the 2014 Capital Dragon Boat Regatta and organizer Jeff Kuhn says the boats date back 2,000 years ago from China.

"It's probably the fastest actually growing sport in the United States right now," he says.

There are 24 teams racing this year and there's a 2,000 meter course with a drummer in front and crews of 20 all rowing in sync. The racers take off every 10 seconds starting with the slower heats.

"It's really exciting. There's passing around the corners. Sometimes the boats are bumping, rubbing into one another," Kuhn says.

The racing starts around 9 a.m. and ends by 3:30 p.m. Spectators can watch from Hains Point or at the Gangplank Marina where there's a 17-foot Jumbotron and a beer garden.

WTOP's Allison Keyes contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter and on the WTOP Facebook page.

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