Penticton Dragon Boat Festival won’t be smoked out

Penticton Dragon Boat Festival won’t be smoked out

The Festival has arranged plans for all possible conditions on race day

Organizers of the Penticton Dragon Boat Festival, now in its 18th year, are hoping for the usual sunshine and great weather, but have contingency plans for every level of smoke the Okanagan has experienced over the past several weeks.

“We‘ve seen a number of events having to cancel in recent weeks due to extreme smoke levels, and it got us thinking how could we still provide a racing experience for teams? With over 2,000 athletes, and two days of racing, it is too big an event to cancel,” said Don Mulhall, the race director. ”And with conditions capable of changing hourly we’re committed to doing everything we can to ensure the event’s success, and paddler’s are safe. The absolute goal is to run the event outdoors on beautiful Skaha Lake.”

The event is still a few weeks away and will take place Sept. 8 and 9.

Race organizers are following the provincial government’s Air Quality Health Index closely, and hope to run the event under clear blue sky, but have other options ready. Everything from modifying the race length, to postponing or adjusting the race schedule.

That’s when the idea for an Indoor Regatta came to mind. The local paddling community maintains a paddling room in the community centre utilizing rowing ergometers equipped with adapters that allow the machines to simulate paddling.

“We have four machines already, and we’ve just ordered four more adapters,” Mulhall said.

The Penticton Dragon Boat Festival needed an indoor space to accommodate the potentially large numbers of teams. David Prystay, from the Penticton Lakeside Resort and Conference Centre stepped up and offered free use of the conference centre.

“I met with David,” said Mulhall. “He toured me around this beautiful new conference space, and when I explained our need for a back up plan, he immediately pledged to support our event.”

The Penticton Dragon Boat Festival is British Columbia’s second biggest festival. Teams attend from around the province and Alberta for two days of racing.

For more information about the Penticton Dragon Boat Festival contact Don Mulhall, Race Director at (250) 488-3100, or don@pentictondragonboat.com, or visit www.pentictondragonboat.com