After year off, Dragon Boat Fest back in Lakeside

Print Article

  • Detail of one of the dragon boats at the 2016 Montana Dragon Boat Festival in Lakeside.(Brenda Ahearn/Daily Inter Lake)

  • 1

    Dragon boats at Volunteer Park on Flathead lake at the 2016 Montana Dragon Boat Festival in Lakeside. (Brenda Ahearn/Daily Inter Lake)

  • 2

    The Bozeman Vikings pull ahead of their competition during a race in 2016 in Lakeside at the Montana Dragon Boat Festival.(Brenda Ahearn/Daily Inter Lake)

  • Detail of one of the dragon boats at the 2016 Montana Dragon Boat Festival in Lakeside.(Brenda Ahearn/Daily Inter Lake)

  • 1

    Dragon boats at Volunteer Park on Flathead lake at the 2016 Montana Dragon Boat Festival in Lakeside. (Brenda Ahearn/Daily Inter Lake)

  • 2

    The Bozeman Vikings pull ahead of their competition during a race in 2016 in Lakeside at the Montana Dragon Boat Festival.(Brenda Ahearn/Daily Inter Lake)

The sixth annual Montana Dragon Boat Festival will be held Friday through Sunday, Sept. 7 through Sept. 9 at Volunteer Park in Lakeside.

The first event was in 2012, but last year’s festival was canceled due to poor air quality caused by wildfire smoke. The Dragon Boat Festival features races with 20 rowers on long narrow boats, with an additional person steering the boat and one drummer to keep everyone motivated and in sync.

This year, Event Organizer Vonnie Day said they have already had 45 teams register and only have space for about five more before they reach capacity.

“We’ve had a great response,” Day said. “We have teams coming from Pennsylvania, California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, Alberta and throughout western Montana.”

This year’s event will feature the debut of an elite category of competition, where the best of the best will race each other in the Rocky Mountain Championship Division, which will take place each day during the corresponding race lengths. The 200-meter races are held Saturday and 500-meter races held Sunday.

“The Rocky Mountain Championship has really built our attendance as well,” Day said. “Our goal in establishing that was to raise the level of competition. We’re drawing teams for that event from across the country, very competitive teams who are club teams that paddle year-round and compete internationally.”

To date, more than 7,000 paddlers have competed in the Dragon Boat Festival on Flathead Lake. This year’s 45 teams will add another 1,000 or so paddlers to that figure, Day said.

She said the weekend is also loaded with other events that will make it appeal to anybody. Along with food vendors and a beer garden, the “world’s first paddleboard boxing” event will be staged. They will also have corn hole, human foosball and other kid-friendly games available. On Sunday there is a team chant competition.

Breast-cancer survivors play a huge role in this event, too, Day said. Dragon-boat racing and breast cancer have been tied together since a physician named Don MacKenzie realized that exercising upper-body muscles through rowing could benefit breast cancer survivors in their recovery.

They have a separate division for teams made up of entirely cancer survivors; three teams will compete in that division. Day said one is from the Flathead Valley, one is from Missoula and the other one is coming all the way from Los Angeles.

MacKenzie will be giving a talk at Rebecca Farm at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 6, before the event begins. Tickets are $25 and include drinks and some food. More information on how to RSVP can be found here: https://kalispellevents.sportngin.com/drmackenzie.

When it comes to viewing, Day said one of the reasons Volunteer Park in Lakeside is ideal is because there is no shortage of spots where people can see the races well.

“There are a lot of good spectator points in Volunteer Park,” Day said. “All the action takes place right out in front of the docks. You are able to get a good view of the race from start to finish.”

This is the last year that the Dragon Boat Festival will be run by the Kalispell Convention and Visitors Bureau. Beginning in 2019, the event will move across the lake to Wayfarers State Park south of Bigfork and will be run by the Bigfork Area Chamber of Commerce.

In a statement, Kalispell Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Diane Medler said the transition was intended all along and she planned to use the additional resources for future events to draw tourists to the Flathead Valley outside of the traditional tourism season.

More information on this year’s Dragon Boat Festival, including a schedule of all the events, is on the event website at www.montanadragonboat.com. Admission is free for the public.

Reporter Peregrine Frissell can be reached at (406) 758-4438 or pfrissell@dailyinterlake.com.

Print Article

Read More This Week In The Flathead

Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations planned

January 17, 2019 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake Love Lives Here in the Flathead is collaborating with Groovetrail and Jazz at Lincoln Center for a night of music to celebrate the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. The annual celebration will take place ...

Comments

Read More

Upcoming events

January 17, 2019 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake Glacier Symphony gives two Gershwin Galas Glacier Symphony rings in 2019 with two performances of the Gershwin Gala at the O’Shaughnessy Center in Whitefish: Jan. 19, 7:30 p.m.; Jan 20, 3 p.m. Fe...

Comments

Read More

Great Falls Symphony chamber ensemble performs Jan. 25

January 17, 2019 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake The Sunburst Community Foundation’s 20th annual Performing Arts Series has drawn a star-studded line-up of performers to the 2018-19 concert series. The five concerts bring an amazing spectrum of sou...

Comments

Read More

Valley Voices Community Choir begins spring season

January 17, 2019 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake The Valley Voices Community Choir begins its spring season Monday, Jan. 28, at 6 p.m. in the choir room of Flathead High School. Everyone who likes to sing is welcome to join. Allyson Kuechmann has ...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(406) 755-7000
727 East Idaho
Kalispell, MT 59901

©2019 Daily Inter Lake Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X