Team registration open for Dragon Boat Festival

Photo by Chris Ryan
Photo by Chris Ryan

Get ready for sun and fun this summer! Community Team registration is now open for the 9th annual Lake Champlain Dragon Boat Festival and Races, Sunday, Aug. 3 at Burlington’s Waterfront Park. Now is the time for businesses and community organizations to join together and form a team. There are only 64 team slots available, and each team is comprised of 21 paddlers who race head-to-head in 41-foot-long dragon boats over a 200-meter course. No paddling experience is required, and every team gets a free practice session in July.

The Festival continues to be a popular teambuilding event for businesses and groups who want to paddle together, have a great time, and raise money to support cancer survivors in our community through Dragonheart Vermont and Survivorship NOW’s cancer wellness programs. Members of Dragonheart Vermont are available to provide a Lake Champlain Dragon Boat Festival 101 talk to interested organizations to help recruit and charge up their team. For complete information on the event and online registration, visit www.ridethedragon.org.

Shelburne resident Phyllis Bartling, captain of the Baystate Support Oars, recalls, “Nine years ago, I watched the Lake Champlain Dragon Boat Festival from the shore. I have been in a boat ever since! All year I look forward to this one day of fun, camaraderie, love, competition, and, yes, sweat. The spirit and excitement are infectious. The cause is sobering. And many of the Dragonheart team members are now my personal heroes. Where else can you find all that?”

The festival has become one of Vermont’s most popular summer events with over 12,000 paddlers and spectators. Admission to the festival is free for spectators. There’s music, entertainment, food vendors, and more. New to the festival this year: a special Pick-a-Prize Raffle and a Woodchuck Cider Garden right on Lake Champlain.

Over the last eight years the Lake Champlain Dragon Boat Festival has raised $1.4 million to support critical cancer programs in Vermont. This year, festival proceeds will support Survivorship NOW, a Williston-based cancer wellness program that helps bridge the gap all cancer survivors face between treatment and recovery. Survivorship NOW offers a variety of free classes featuring exercise, nutrition, art, music and more. The programs help cancer survivors and empower them to focus on healthy life choices. Survivorship NOW has the strong endorsement of cancer survivors, doctors, and health care institutions in our area.

Visit www.survivorshipnowvt.org for complete program information.