By Mabell, Dave on December 6, 2019.
Lion dancers will officially welcome home one of Lethbridge’s original dragon boats today.
The celebration, set for 7 p.m. at the Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden, will mark the return of the first dragon boat to grace Henderson Lake.
Members of the city’s dragon boat community say the boat, purchased in 2001 through fundraising efforts by the local Rotary clubs, holds “momentous significance” because its launch at Henderson marked the beginnings of the Lethbridge Dragon Boat Festival. The annual event has become a “signature sporting event” in Lethbridge for the past 17 years, and it’s now among the largest in Western Canada.
The boat was key to the formation of the Abreast of Bridge Dragon Boat Team, a successful breast cancer survivors paddling team.
In recent years, it has been used by dragon boat teams in southeast Alberta. But now it’s been returned from Elkwater, and will be on display this weekend promoting the Dragon Boat Association of Southern Alberta along with the city’s Coulee Classic Dragons – a 50-plus women’s team currently training for the 2021 World Masters Games in Kansai, Japan.