Leduc, AB – On August 9, a Media release announced that the City of Leduc is set to welcome the 16th Annual Edmonton Dragon Boat Festival on Telford Lake, August 17 to 19. Due to the unseasonably high and fast water flow of the North Saskatchewan River, this popular paddling event will be held away from this Edmonton river for the first time in its history. Dragon Boat racing is a sport designed for paddlers of all abilities and fitness levels: it pays homage to the Chinese Culture and provides visitors with exciting action on the water, Lion Dance, vendors and entertainment.
This year’s event is a qualifying event through Dragon Boat Canada, and the high achievers of the competition will continue on to the Nationals and eventually the World’s. One thousand athletes registered their 50 teams already, and the feedback so far is positive about the relocation of the event. Many dragon boating teams in the region are familiar with Telford Lake, the natural state of this 3-km lake, its location near Leduc’s Downtown core and its 200 acres of water, surrounded by a tame wetland and partial boardwalk over protected fauna. Information on the sport and the festival is available on www.edmontondragonboatfestival.com website.
The City of Leduc, the Leduc Boat Club and the Telford Lake Alberta Training Society have welcomed paddlers and rowers for years, facilitating practices, clinics and other races: in preparing for this huge event, these groups and City of Leduc liaisons have supported the Festival Association committee with a myriad of details, and will continue to do so throughout the weekend. Having hosted the World Masters Games in 2005, this regional community is ready to welcome another large event on the lake.
City of Leduc officials are thrilled to welcome the high-caliber athletes that will make the Edmonton Dragon Boat Festival another success on record. With the spacious property surrounding the docks and Leduc Boat Club enclosure, the EDBFA committee will host VIP parking, Team Areas, Vendors’ booths, and Beverage Garden with a stage for entertainers. The Festival Committee has kindly designed a letter meant for ‘neighborhood distribution’ apologizing to residents for the noise of Drummers, cheering, music and celebration that is par for the course with a Festival of this scope.
The Festival Committee is encouraging local and regional Dragon Boat fans to carpool, bike, walk or get dropped off near the Lake, as parking at and near the Rugby Club (Friday night and Sunday only) is minimal. Of course, parking at the Leduc Recreation centre will be readily available. Shuttle buses have been planned from Edmonton, and information is available at the edmontondragonboatfestival.com website. Warren Becker, vice-president of the Festival Association, himself an experienced paddler very familiar with Telford Lake, shared that “the EDBFA is thrilled that the City of Leduc and the lake groups have embraced our festival and the 50 teams that have registered to compete on this wonderful Telford Lake.” On its festival posters, the EDBFA promotes ‘Rip Up the River’. Well, this year, racers might have to chant a new motto: “Rip Up the Lake!” On Wednesday at 2pm, a Buddhist priest came to bless the boats, and to help launch the new pink dragon boat owned by Breast Friends, a dynamic team of Edmonton-based paddlers who have been competing together for several years, bringing awareness to the caring professionals involved in the great fight against Breast Cancer.
On Friday (August 17) at 6pm, the festival will be launched with best wishes offered by regional and Dragon Boat Canada dignitaries, followed by the first races of this event, the Challenge Cup Races. Racing will continue all day Saturday and Sunday morning, while the Sunday afternoon will see the Semi-Finals and Finals unfold, followed by a Medals ceremony sometime after 5pm. A Dragon Boat competition is exciting to witness, as the sounds of steerspersons, drummers and cheering combined with the sight of these majestic colorful boats with 20 team members furiously paddling to raise adrenaline levels: dragon boating fans will not be disappointed when they attend this event on the City of Leduc’s Telford Lake.