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

Former Shuswap optician won’t be jailed for sexually assaulting minor

Kenneth Pilkington sentenced to 24 months’ probation for offence three decades ago

Fully loaded asphalt truck tips over on Shoemaker Hill

“No trucks” hill on 10th Avenue SE remains closed until later Thursday afternoon

Working it out at Roots and Blues Festival

A pot-pourri of talented artists will jam to make workshop magic this weekend

Armed Forces in town, two new fires near Cherryville

Area restrictions expanded, firefighters equipment stolen

Snowy Mountain fire now classified as held

The Snowy Mountain wildfire near Keremeos remains out-of-control

Ash falling in the Okanagan

Reports on social media of ashes on cars around the Okanagan

Snowy Mountain fire travelling away from communities

The Snowy Mountain fire near Keremeos remains at 13,359 hectares in size

Minister optimistic after 2 days of Columbia River Treaty negotiations

Canadian and U.S. officials met in Nelson Wednesday and Thursday to discuss future of the treaty

Man dies in B.C. police cell while awaiting court hearing

An independent investigation is underway after a man died while in Penticton police custody Aug. 16

RCMP appeal for tips, dashcam footage in German tourist shooting west of Calgary

The Durango crashed into the ditch after the shooting near the Goodstoney Rodeo Centre

2 nurses attacked at B.C. psych hospital, union calls for in-unit security

PHSA says that in-unit guards would do more harm than good

Kelowna developer warns home buyers to look at more than the price tag

Kelowna developer Jeffrey Anderson wants first-time homeowners to look at more than the price tag.

Red Cross now accepting donations for those impacted by B.C. wildfires

The Canadian Red Cross is asking for help now and in the weeks and months ahead.

Most Read