Paddlers race for a cause

Paddlers and drummers wait for their start at last year’s Prospera Vernon Dragon Boat Festival. This year’s event takes place Aug. 16. - Andy Stephansson photo
Paddlers and drummers wait for their start at last year’s Prospera Vernon Dragon Boat Festival. This year’s event takes place Aug. 16.
— image credit: Andy Stephansson photo

The Prospera Vernon Dragon Boat Festival is set for another great day of racing and fund raising on Kalamalka Lake, Aug. 16.

More than 400 paddlers from clubs in Penticton, Kelowna, Vernon, Kamloops, Salmon Arm and Nelson will gather on the beach.

The event is one of the highlight festivals on the race calendar, and the racing is expected to be tight as teams progress through three races.

“With 20 paddlers, a drummer and steer person in each boat, the loaded weight of these mighty boats can approach 3,000 pounds,” said Lisa George, manager at the Vernon Rowing and Dragon Boat Club. “Teamwork and timing are critical!”

The festival leaves a valuable legacy in the community. More than $25,000 has been raised to date to purchase critical breast cancer diagnostic equipment at Vernon Jubilee Hospital. This year’s funds will help finalize the purchase of a digital mammography unit, valued at more than $700,000. Through events such as the Prospera Dragon Boat Festival, the final $83,000 is expected to be raised by the end of this year.

Members of the VJH Foundation will be on the beach and accepting donations.

“Holding the festival on Kal Lake is a huge draw for paddlers, we love to showcase this beautiful setting to visitors,” said George. “The beach and pier make for great viewing of all of the races and the day is full of fun with lots of activity on the beach. Come and watch the racing unfold!”

As well as watching the racing, George said there will be a wide range of activities on the beach.

“Prospera Credit Union will be giving away beach balls and frisbees, Tree Brewing will be hosting a beer garden on the beach until 5:30 p.m. and there will be a variety of vendors.

“We will also be holding a Breast Cancer Survivor Carnation Ceremony at noon to honour those who have lost the battle against this terrible disease.”

The Prospera Vernon Dragon Boat Festival takes place Aug. 16 at Kal Beach, with the racing starting at 8:30 a.m. and running to around 3 p.m.

The final event of the day will be a water ski challenge. Paddlers will be working hard to tow a water skier right from the beach to wrap up a full day.

“We are really hoping to draw our community along to cheer on the teams.

“Come and cheer on teams of 20 paddlers as they race to the finish line at Kal Beach — this event is great fun for families.”

For more details on the event, please see


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