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

Service with a smile: How inclusive workplaces benefit everyone

Vernon employee serves up service with a smile

North Okanagan residential market runs true to form

Market picking up as expected, OMREB says

Fundraising campaign launched for man caught in SilverStar avalanche

In only two days, the GoFundMe surpassed its $15,000 goal

Business is booming in Lumby: Chamber

Chamber looks to capture history

A tough hill to climb: Armstrong business owner overcomes odds

Armstrong biologist-businesswoman celebrates a milestone anniversary

Sparks fly as SUV speeds down wrong side of Highway 1 trying to flee RCMP

Captured on video, the vehicle headed westbound against oncoming traffic before crashing

Bobrovsky perfect as Blue Jackets blank Canucks 5-0

Vancouver shut out for 10th time this season

Kelowna artist featured on furniture

Shandra Smith’s work is now available on credenzas

Destructive blaze in West Kelowna fatal for cat

The fire at a West Kelowna condo claimed the life of one tenant’s cat

Sock Hop aims to send dancers back to another time

Writers’ Festival fundraiser in Salmon Arm springs into step for another year

Man pinned under metal tank in West Kelowna

Emergency personnel are on the scene

WWE, WCW elite hits Vernon mat for professional wrestling show

International wrestlers descend upon Vernon for Canadian Wrestling’s Elite anniversary tour

Terror at sea: Helicopter rescues frightened cruise passengers in Norway

The Viking Sky cruise ship was carrying 1,300 passengers and crew when it experienced engine trouble

DOJ: Trump campaign did not co-ordinate with Russia in 2016

Attorney General William Barr said special counsel “does not exonerate” Trump of obstructing justice

Most Read