“The racing is 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day and they leave the start line every eleven minutes,” Ages told NanaimoNewsNOW.
The 500 metre straight course starts at the southern edge of Newcastle Channel and ends at the Fishing and Walking Pier, often referred to as the crab dock.
Three teams compete at a time.
In addition to the races, all-day, on-shore entertainment takes over Maffeo Sutton Park, including live musical and dance performances, food trucks, a kids play area and beer garden.
Ages said dragon boaters from all over Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland are energized for the Nanaimo event.
“Its been really difficult for these athletes for the last two years…people are really excited to get together and congregate,” Ages said in reference to canceled local dragon boat festivals in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic.
Funds raised from the event supports the Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation and BC Cancer Foundation.
Back-to-back breast cancer survivor races are scheduled starting at 12 p.m. on Saturday.
Ages said successful dragon boat teams require a blend of strength, preparation and diligent teamwork.
“They achieve medals by behaving as one unit, as one organism and that takes a lot of practice and a lot plain hard work.”
Dragon boating consists of 20 paddlers, a steerer and drummer.
The theme for this year’s festival is Life’s a Beach Party which will undoubtedly inspire some wild outfits. Prizes will be awarded to the mixed and women’s teams with the most colourful, tackiest beach attire and accessories.
More details on the event can be found here.
This is the first year Victoria based Fairway Gorge Paddling Club (FGPC) is running the entire Nanaimo event after serving as race coordinator for many years.
FGPC is staging the Vancouver Island Dragon Boat Race Series this year, involving five events in the spring and summer.
Apair of other high profile summer events are on deck at Maffeo Sutton Park, with the Silly Boat Regatta on on Sunday, July 17.
The Nanaimo Marine Festival takes place the following weekend, culminating with the world renowned bath tub race on Sunday, July 24.
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On Twitter: @reporterholmes