This year’s Penticton Dragon Boat Festival has officially been cancelled. The event would have been the 20th-anniversary celebration of one of Penticton’s largest sporting events.
The annual event, held the second weekend in September, attracts thousands of participants every year for two days of dragon boat racing on Skaha Lake.
The local dragon boating community, consisting of 300 plus paddlers, has seen their training season cancelled along with teams all across Canada, who have been unable to participate in their sport.
This has been a huge financial hit to the non-profit society that oversees the operation.
Race officials announced early in the year that they hoped to see the pandemic possibly subsiding by September.
With events being cancelled throughout the summer, organizers had originally hoped to stage some form of event.
“We knew that Penticton residents would need something to cheer about by then,” said race director, Don Mulhall. “We did everything we could.”
Working with local officials, and within provincial health guidelines, the goal was to modify and put on an event that kept everyone safe and still allowed for a celebration.
However, due to recent events, that goal became unrealistic.
“With the recent announcements of an increase in cases, especially in the Okanagan, it is just too volatile to safely plan any sort of dragon boat event,” said Mulhall.
Dates for all of next year’s dragon boat events have been updated on the festival website at pentictondragonboat.com, with the Okanagan Super Sprints (including a seniors’ only day of racing) to be held June 11 and 12, 2021.
The Penticton Dragon Boat Festival will be held September 11 and 12, 2021.
For more information, or to see how you could become involved, contact Don Mulhall at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 250-488-3100.