Dragon boat racing is a tradition that dates back to China 2,000 years ago. But you don't have to travel all the way to Asia to experience it. On August 4th, you can see it right on Half Moon Lake in Eau Claire. That's when the 2018 edition of the Half Moon Dragon Boat Festival will be taking place.

Here's what to know before you go.

1. It Raises Money for a Good Cause

The Dragon Boat Festival will help raise money for Hope in the Valley. The nonprofit organization's mission is to create and support events to raise awareness and funds for cancer support, education, and resources in the community. The cancer-related charities/services benefiting will include the Albert J. and Judith A. Dunlap Cancer Center at Mayo Clinic Health System, Joshua's Camp, Wig Bank, and the American Cancer Society. As in previous years, part of the money raised will also go to benefit hospice services that help people in the final stages of their lives.

2. Team/Individual Participants Are Welcome

To take part in the event, you must be 14 or older. Teams can range from 21-25 people. The cost to register for a team is $1,100. An individual can register for $55. Individuals will be notified two weeks before the race with their team number. The entry fee gets you a Dragon Boat Festival Shirt, a medal, and swag.

3. Multiple Awards Will Be Given Out

There are awards for many things at the festival besides the fastest team. 1st place team gets a trophy, the fastest team gets a paddle award, the top individual fundraiser receives $500, the best-decorated tent gets a Mayo swag bag, and the best food truck earns a traveling trophy. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. 

4. Free Admission for Spectators and Lots of Fun Family Activities

Not paddling? No problem! Admission is free. There's plenty of fun to go along with the boat races. Action City will be hosting a kids fun zone, Morrie's will be doing a car giveaway, and there will be a food truck war. All is required during the food truck war is that you purchase from one of the vendors and place your vote. This is sure to be a great new addition to the festival. 

Now in its fourth year, the Half Moon Dragon Boat Festival is a great way to experience a proud Chinese tradition right here in the Chippewa Valley. Whether you want to paddle on a team, solo, partake in the new food truck war, or just come and raise money for good causes, it's an event not to be missed.