Dragon boat festival names pledge beneficiary 

by Sudbury Sports Staff | March 25, 2013

Steve Lee, co-chair of the Sudbury Dragon Boat Festival, leads Sudbury Mayor Marianne Matichuk and Northern Water Sports Centre board chair Thomas Merritt in the traditional Chinese eye-dotting ceremony to awaken the dragon as the symbolic opening of the dragon boat season. The capital campaign of the Northern Water Sports Centre is the pledge beneficiary of the 14th annual festival.

The future of the Sudbury Dragon Boat Festival and its ability to fund important community causes was assured as details of the 2013 festival were rolled out on the shores of Lake Ramsey last week.

Beyond providing a home base for the dragon boat festival, the announcement of the Northern Water Sports Centre (NWSC) as the designated pledge beneficiary of this year’s festival will also ensure that Sudbury’s long legacy of excellence in water sports lives on, a press release stated. The goal is to raise $100,000 for the capital campaign of the NWSC, which includes the Sudbury Canoe Club, the Sudbury Rowing Club, the City of Greater Sudbury and their associated community programs.

“The NWSC is honoured to be chosen,” NWSC board chair Thomas Merritt said. “We’re excited to be a step closer to building this new facility that will ensure that our club partners can provide recreational and competitive water sport programs for all Sudburians.”

“With the support of the community, the Sudbury Dragon Boat Festival has contributed close to $1.4 million to local causes throughout its history,” festival co-chair Steve Lee said. “The selection of the NWSC is indicative of our commitment to building for the future, so that we’re able to continue the tradition of supporting many worthy, community-based charities and organizations.”

The festival invites everyone to “release their inner dragon,” and register a team at sudburydragonboats.org. The Sudbury Dragon Boat Festival, which is being held July 13 on Ramsey Lake, brings an exciting combination of dragon boat racing for many ages and skill levels in corporate, community and competitive categories. With a goal of 70 teams (1,500 paddlers) the festival is the largest, and longest-running, dragon boating event in Northeastern Ontario.

New to the festival this year is the addition of a new Challenge Series category — Survivors. In addition to the regular divisional recreational competitions, teams may elect to enter a Challenge Series category to compete for bragging rights. Teams in the Survivors category consist of breast-cancer survivors. The creation of this category will potentially attract more out-of-town teams to the festival and add additional interest for spectators.

A 2013 launch party for the festival is scheduled for April 5 at the SteelWorkers’ Union Hall, and features dinner, dancing, and a silent auction. Tickets are $30 each or $55 for two, and are available at: Black Cat, 96 Durham St.; The Co-operators, 1984 Regent St.; Investors Group, 144 Pine St.; Tea & Bloom, 39 Durham St., or the Sudbury Canoe Club, 506 Elizabeth St.

For more information, visit sudburydragonboats.org.

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