Penticton dragon boat festival strong

Numbers down for 13th annual Penticton Dragon Boat Festival, but it’s not expected to take away from the quality of competition.

THE 13TH annual Penticton Dragon Boat Festival will have 74 teams competing during the weekend at SkahaLake. Races begin at 8 a.m.

THE 13TH annual Penticton Dragon Boat Festival will have 74 teams competing during the weekend at SkahaLake. Races begin at 8 a.m.

Numbers are down for the 13th annual Penticton Dragon Boat Festival this weekend, but it’s not expected to take away from the quality of competition.

“It’s still a great size festival,” said organizer Don Mulhall, who added there are 74 teams, including nine local crews. “It’s the perfect size. One of the bigger events in B.C.”

Last year 90 paddling teams competed. Mulhall said the likely reason for fewer teams is because of the Canadian nationals held in Victoria two weeks ago. The 80 sprint races with more than 2,000 paddlers are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday at Skaha Lake beginning at 8 a.m.

Penticton women’s teams are expected to be among the top competitors and anticipated to be in the platinum final on Sunday afternoon.  Top local mixed crew, Peach City Dragons, are looking to improve on last year’s results.  Mythical Penticton crew, O’kai I’Kicka U’as is not competing leaving top spot open for any one of the many fast crews to take it.

Along with the finals, races Sunday include the Breast Cancer Survivor Finals and carnation ceremony starting approximately at noon.  Local favourite Survivorship are looking to win back the Dale Charles Memorial cup.

“We invite the community to come and take part in the festivities and experience the true spirit of dragon boating,” said Mulhall.

Finals action on Sunday begins shortly after noon. 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.

For more information, go to www.pentictondragonboat.com or gorowandpaddle.org.