Penticton Dragon Boat Festival stepped out of the shadows of the city’s well known sporting events after being featured on Northwest Profiles.
“It’s a sizable event,” said Launa Maundrell, president of the Penticton Dragon Boat Festival Society, who along with her husband Don Mulhall, the race director, purchased the event’s equipment from Go Rowing and Paddling Association of Canada in Victoria which managed the event before. “Challenge is what everybody knows. This is a really major event. It’s comparable if not larger. If you don’t come to Skaha, you don’t even know it’s there.”
Maundrell constantly finds people who have never heard of the event, or, come down to see it and are blown away by how big the festival is. Because the festival doesn’t require many volunteers or any road closures to operate successfully, she said it goes unnoticed. That could change as the festival’s TV debut was aired Nov. 20 to start the 28th season of Northwest Profiles on KSPS Public TV in Spokane, Wash.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better video production if we had paid them,” said Maundrell. “It’s a really nice mix of the history of the sport in Penticton and what it has grown into. It shows all the positive aspects of the festival.”
Linking the nine minute film on the PDBF website and Facebook page, it has reached more than 7,000 people. That doesn’t include the stations viewership in the U.S., B.C. and Alberta. Maundrell said they intend to use the video as a marketing tool to hopefully attract more teams and she added it shows off the city nicely.
Lynn Veltrie, operations manager and producer for KSPS, knew of the event a year before coming to Penticton this past summer with his two-person crew. Veltrie, host of Northwest Profiles, said they love coming to the Okanagan because there is always some great things happening. They also make a point to travel to Canada every year for stories.
The response has been great and Veltrie praised Mulhall for the job he did.
“I was happy with it,” said Veltrie, who completed the feature in 40 hours after they spent the weekend in Penticton and used photos provided by Mulhall. “I judge how it was successful in the organizers and the people who told their story and if they were happy with it. They were ecstatic.
“You only have a short period of time to tell. That’s a pretty big event,” he continued. “That festival is so well organized. I think it’s one of the reasons it’s so well respected. The people were great to work with.”
Last year the festival had 73 teams of 20 paddlers. Mulhall would like to see the numbers increase to between 80 to 90 teams.
Mayor-elect Andrew Jakubeit was excited to see Penticton and the festival showcased.
“It’s an event that we should all be proud of,” said Jakubeit. “In a weekend in September, when tourism season starts to lag a bit, to have a very well respected and renowned dragon boat festival here in Penticton is good. This TV station services the Pacific Northwest in the U.S. and Alberta and B.C. It’s showcasing Penticton in a fun, positive light.”
The festival is entering it’s 15th year next September is now completely operated from Penticton after having been managed by Go Rowing and Paddling Association of Canada — a not-for-profit society, which ceased operation last winter.