The Silver Dips go for a paddle — they are Vernon’s new dragon boat team made up of seniors 55 and up and will be at Saturday’s festival.

The Silver Dips go for a paddle — they are Vernon’s new dragon boat team made up of seniors 55 and up and will be at Saturday’s festival.

Dragon boats race for a cause

Saturday’s Prospera Vernon Dragon Boat Festival welcomes more than 400 paddlers

The Prospera Vernon Dragon Boat Festival is set for another great day of racing and fundraising on Kalamalka Lake Saturday.

More than 400 paddlers from Penticton, Kelowna, Kamloops and Calgary will gather on the beach. With teams of 20 paddlers, each of the mighty dragon boats weighs in at 3,000 pounds.

The racing is tight as teams progress through the day and the beach and pier provide excellent vantage points for spectators.

And following the racing, there is plenty to do on the beach. A Beachside Market will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with a fantastic selection of local crafts and health and wellness providers. The Lions Club will be running a burger barbecue sponsored by A&W from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the Okanagan Spring beer garden will be open from noon to 5:30 p.m.

The festival has left a valuable legacy in the community. More than $30,000 has been raised to date to purchase critical breast cancer diagnostic equipment at Vernon Jubilee Hospital.

The Festival Pledge Drive, Beachside Market and Lions Club barbecue will all provide funds to purchase an ultrasound unit for the mammography department. Members of the VJH Foundation will be at the event accepting donations.

There will be seven local teams taking part at the festival.

“Buoyant Buddies, Dragon Riders, Poseidon’s Fury and N’kmpalqs are teams that train for the full season at Vernon Rowing and Dragon Boat Club,” said Lisa George, program and event manager. “We also have three teams who have trained specifically for the festival — The Silver Dips, Kal Tire Rubber Dragons and OKSpringLoaded.”

There will be a breast cancer survivor carnation ceremony at 11:45 a.m. to honour those who have lost the battle to this terrible disease.

The final event of the day will be a water ski challenge. Paddlers will be working hard to tow a water skier behind the dragon boats right from the beach.

“This is such a fun community event,” said George. “Prospera Credit Union and Sun FM will be on the beach with prizes and give-aways, the market and barbecue are unique to the day and the matching teams battle to the finish line is exciting. This event is great fun for families!”

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