Dragon boat festival to have nearly 80 races

Penticton Dragon Boat Festival to attract more than 2,000 paddlers next weekend

More than 2,000 paddlers will be descending on Penticton Sept. 6-7 for the 14th annual Penticton Dragon Boat Festival.

It’s expected there will be 78 races over the two days.

“This festival has become the season-highlight race for lots of teams from all over B.C. and Alberta,” said organizer Don Mulhall. “And having it in September is a big plus for Penticton as well — our weather is still great and tourism is a little quieter.”

The festival will see teams of 20 paddlers (plus a drummer and steers person) on both mixed and women’s crews racing the 15-metre canoes in 500-m sprints. Several of Penticton’s womens teams are expected to be among the top competitors, and are anticipated to be in the top final on Sunday afternoon.  Penticton also has two mixed teams aiming for the Platinum division, with one team – Peach City Dragons – recently finishing as top team overall at the Vernon Dragon Boat Festival.

Along with the finals, races on Sunday will also include the Breast Cancer Survivor Finals and carnation ceremony, starting at approximately 11:30 a.m. Local favourite, Survivorship, will be looking to win the Dale Charles Memorial cup.

“We’d love to see the public come down to view the racing. The race course is entirely along the beach, and there’s a race starting every 12 minutes with some races coming down to thousands of a second difference between teams,” said Mulhall, adding that the festival is not just about the races.

The event will also feature a beverage garden with proceeds to Survivorship food vendors and a market.

The Penticton Dragon Boat Festival will run from 8 a.m.- 4 p.m. on September 6 and 7. The finals will begin at noon on Sunday. The medals and awards, including trophies for top women’s crew, top breast cancer survivor crew, top okanagan crew and top crew overall will be presented in the beverage garden Sunday afternoon.

For more information, go to www.pentictondragonboat.com.