The Despirit Housewives are getting a jump on their 2016 dragon boat season.
The group has been the first to hit the waters of Skaha Lake as they prepare to represent Penticton and B.C. at the Hong Kong International Dragon Boat races on June 9.
Team captain Colleen Raison said the event is celebrating the 40th anniversary of international dragon boating. Raison said that makes it special to be part of.
“The Hong Kong festival looks amazing. We’re looking forward to it,” she said. “They have a long tradition with it. It will be interesting to see how they put their festivals together compared to ours.”
The website discoverhongkong.com states the festival commemorates the death of Qu Yuan, a Chinese national hero. During a protest of corrupt rulers, Qu Yuan drowned himself in the Mi Lo River. To scare fish from eating his body, townspeople beat drums and threw rice dumplings called ‘zong’ into the water. The event is remembered by Chinese people around the world who eat zong and beat drums on dragon boats.
Raison said they were invited by a person who works many dragon boat festivals they attend.
“We’re quite competitive but we also have a lot of fun, I think that was part of the reason (for the invite),” said Raison, adding that they will compete in the small and standard boat race. “It’s definitely an honour.”
Raison said the Despirit Housewives, who have been together since 2005, will likely see some phenomenal paddlers.
Since the trip will be costly for the team, airfare being $1,500 each, the team has contacted Penticton MLA Dan Ashton to see if they could get gaming funds to help them.
During the competition, the team will have its hotel, transportation and other things covered. The group also decided to turn the trip into a holiday and plan to leave a couple days early and stay longer.