July 23rd, 2024

Dragon boat festival ready to hit the water

By Lethbridge Herald on June 22, 2024.

Members of the Hung Mon Athletic Club perform a traditional lion dance, a mainstay of the opening ceremonies for the annual ATB Financial Lethbridge Rotary Dragon Boat Festival on Friday evening at Henderson Lake. Herald photo by Justin Seward


The 22nd annual  Lethbridge Rotary Dragon Boat Festival powered by ATB officially kicked off with the opening ceremonies festivities at Henderson Lake Park on Friday night.

The program  opened with Oh Canada that was sung by Tsuaki Marule in three languages, followed by speeches from Rotary and government representatives, an opening prayer by Mike Bruised Head, a lion dance and performances from Jamie Medicine Crane and Friends.

The usual  ceremonial paddle was cancelled because of lightning concerns.

“This amazing event brings communities together with approximately 1,600 participants and 15,000 attendees,” said Karl Samuel, Rotary District 5360 assistant district governor.

“It is all made possible by the hard work of the rotary clubs of Lethbridge helping to  organize this event and to inspire 200 community members to volunteer over the weekend. Bringing this event is just one of the ways that rotary clubs in Lethbridge help to build communities in the city.”

Coun. Jeff Carlson reminded the crowd that it’s not just about the racing but as well celebrating tradition that goes back centuries.

“A festival that honours courage, unity and of course the spirit of community and that’s one thing our community does best is celebrate,” said Carlson.

“As we all paddle in synchronized harmony, we embody the strength that comes from working towards a common goal and working together to achieve it.”

Racing begins today at 7 a.m. with the ATB Kids Zone opening at 10 and the beer gardens at 11.  Live music and entertainment will run from 11 a.m. until 10:30 p.m. while food vendors will be able to fill hungry stomachs from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m.

At 11 a.m. the Cancer Survivor C-Cup challenge will be staged with the rose ceremony being held at noon with races resuming at 12:30 p.m.

Racing begins again Sunday at 7:30 a.m. with the semi-finals. The Kids Zone will run from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. and beer gardens from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Race finals start at 11:30 a.m.

At 3 p.m. popular city band The Chevelles will stage their last ever performance at the festival.

Over 80 teams have registered, while there will be over 1,200 participants, 200 plus volunteers and over 15,000 people around Henderson Park this weekend.

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