Vicky Drew, Contributor
Registration is open for Lake Champlain’s 17th annual Dragon Boat Festival on Sunday, Aug. 6.
The festival is a favorite annual event at the Burlington waterfront featuring community teams racing in 20-person canoes from Splash to the Coast Guard station. Community teams are created from workplace communities, families, clubs and more. New and returning teams are welcome and can register here.
This year, Dragonheart Vermont will work together with Community Bank to host the annual event. Dragonheart Vermont is the local non-profit organization that organizes and hosts the festival each year.
Dragonheart Vermont strives to empower breast cancer survivors and supporters through the challenging sport of dragon boating and instilling in its members the values of teamwork, fitness and community giving. The Lake Champlain Dragon Boat Festival is a charitable event that raises money to support cancer survivors locally for Dragonheart Vermont and this year’s pledge partner, the McClure Miller Respite House.
Participants dress up in colorful costumes, compete for spirit awards with team cheers, warm up with Zumba and ride the dragons to raise money for charity. They enjoy the entertainment provided by local artists like Burlington Taiko and paddle to support cancer survivors in the community.
Dragonheart Vermont has given more than $1 million to various cancer-related organizations, including Camp Ta Kum Ta, the McClure Miller Respite House, Integrative Therapies at the University of Vermont Medical Center’s cancer center and, most recently, the Cancer Patient Support Network.
Teams are made up of 16 paddlers (plus a drummer who sits on the front of the boat and keeps time). Registration fees include an entry fee of $50 with a $75 fundraising commitment. The registration fee includes a 75-minute practice session on practice weekend (July 9-10) with some of the best coaches in the country, at least two races on festival day and souvenir shirts and medals. Extra awards are given for team spirit, top team fundraising and top finishers.