Charleston Dragon Boat Festival back in the Ashley River this weekend

A dragon kite flies at the Charleston Dragon Boat Festival last year.

Charleston Dragon Boat Festival returns to the Lowcountry for its eighth year to raise money for cancer survivor programs this weekend. Last year, the event raised more than $150,000. The dragon boat race, the event’s centerpiece event, is a festive competition of dozens of 20-member teams racing 48-foot paddle boats down a 250-meter stretch on the Ashley River. Many participants have survived cancer, others still battle it. But the common theme of the event is hope and celebration, with most teams dressing up in wacky costumes and mingling with the thousands of attendees after the race to enjoy live music, food and yard games. The registration deadline to participate has come and gone, but spectators are encouraged to attend.

When: 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday

Where: Brittlebank Park

Price: Free to attend

More info: www.charlestondragonboatfestival.com