The Dragonize dragon boat team paddles out to the start line at the Shuswap Dragon Boat Festival on Saturday, June 25, 2016. The 2017 festival was cancelled due to wildfire smoke, and due to organizational challenges there will be no 2018 festival. However, the Shuswap Rowing and Paddling Club is confident the festival will make a triumphant return in 2019. (Evan Buhler/Salmon Arm Observer)

Sleeping dragons will rise again in Salmon Arm

Shuswap Dragonboat Festival set to return in 2019

A much-loved feature on the summer festival lineup in Salmon Arm, the Shuswap Rowing and Paddling Club’s Dragon Boat Festival brings rowers and spectators alike to the Shuswap to witness these massive boats in action. After a cancellation in 2017 due to excessive smoke from wildfires, the announcement on the club’s website confirming there would also be no festival in 2018 came as a disappointment to many. However, David Miege, president of the Shuswap Rowing and Paddling Club, would like to assure the community the festival is not gone for good.

While the 2017 Dragon Boat Festival was cancelled for health and safety reasons, Miege says the lack of a festival in 2018 comes primarily from the Rowing and Paddling Club losing members of their board of directors who were crucial to the festival’s success.

“Normally we have an annual Dragon Boat festival. What happened is we’ve had a bit of a changeover in the board of directors, we’ve had five of our really key board members step down, Ted and Karin Crouch, Bill Grainger, Peter McLean and Chris Emmott. They all put in several years of service on the board, for which we are very grateful.” Miege says. “Dedicated people, fabulous for the Shuswap. But they put in their 10-15 years as volunteers and I think that’s more than you can ask of anybody.”

Rather than attempting to throw together what they could on short notice, the club’s current board of directors chose to step back, evaluate the situation and ensure that the next Dragon Boat Festival lives up to what the community has come to expect.

“That decision was made in the fall of last year, the new board looked at it and we thought we have a huge learning curve ahead of us, we have to get all our programs up and running while missing these people. We want to do the event, but we want to do it correctly. You can always force something to happen, but I think then you run some risks. Absolutely it is in the works for next year, I expect it will be one of those bigger and better than ever kind of events,” he says.

To tide eager dragon boaters over for the 2018 season, Miege says the club is looking at ways to get the dragon boat teams from around the region to come together for training sessions, public showcases and other smaller events in Salmon Arm.

“What we are planning on doing is another kind of new innovative thing, we’re hoping for the dragon boaters to have a very informal cooperative training session. Not just the ones from our club, but the other dragon boat teams in the Shuswap, to have them all sort of realize that they are all part of the same community. Hopefully it will just help to really bring things together and have a great event for next year,” he says.

While the Shuswap Rowing and Paddling Club cannot confirm the exact dates of these alternative dragon boating events, or the proposed dates for the 2019 Dragon Boat Festival, Miege says those interested should stay tuned for updates on the club’s Facebook page, or on their website.


 

@Jodi_Brak117
jodi.brak@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Penticton Speedway cleaning up landslide

Owner Johnny Aantjes expects the slide to be cleaned up in time for the next race on Sunday

Free entrepreneurship program for Indigenous women

Women from across B.C.’s southern interior can apply for the free program

Okanagan Lake levels stay steady but snowpack is growing: officials

Whether or not the tributaries and creeks flood depends on how suddenly the snowpack begins to melt,

Penticton robbery trial starts days before accused’s murder trial

Narcotics, cash stolen from pharmacy; accused scheduled for murder trial next week in Abbotsford

Listen Up to The Pack A.D.

CFUZ radio bring garage punk duo to Penticton

Toronto van attack suspect faces 10 counts of first-degree murder

The suspect in the Toronto van attack that killed 10 people and injured 15 others on Monday is a 25-year-old man named Alek Minassian

New acts join Roots and Blues Festival lineup

An eclectic mix of musicians added to Salmon Arm’s slate

Fighting racism is society’s job

BC Hockey’s plan to provide an education package makes a good first step

Proclaimers walk through the Okanagan

The Proclaimers play Vernon Sept. 11. Tickets on sale now through the Ticket Seller

Doctor sees healing power in psychedelic plant as Peru investigates death of B.C. man

Peru’s attorney general has ordered the arrest of two suspects in the killing of 41-year-old Sebastian Woodroffe

Toronto police officer ‘gave himself the space and time’ in van attack

Footage shows officer standing up, turning off his siren and talking clearly to the suspect

$1.18 to $1.58 a litre: Are you paying the most for gas in B.C.?

Gas prices across B.C. vary, with lowest in Vernon and highest in – you guessed it – Metro Vancouver

Inquest set 10 years after B.C. woman shot, left to die

Lisa Dudley, and her partner, Guthrie McKay were shot in their Mission home in September 2008

B.C. hockey team to retire Humboldt Bronco victim’s number

BCHL’s Surrey Eagles to retire Jaxon Joseph’s No. 10 in light of bus tragedy

Most Read