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Victoria Dragon Boat Festival comes ashore for 2021 celebration

There’s more than one way to keep this festival afloat.

Although the pandemic has sunk the on-the-water racing portion for a second year in a row, the Victoria Dragon Boat Festival Society’s annual celebration of arts, sports and culture still has plenty of oars in the water.

The theme for this year’s event is fittingly, The Spirit of the Dragon – Resilience.

“We are delighted to present the 26th annual Canada Dry Victoria Dragon Boat Festival on Aug. 14 and 15,” said organizing committee member Colin Mooney.

The festival serves three central purposes, including raising awareness of the sport of dragon boating, celebrating the diversity of Greater Victoria’s cultures and raising funds for the BC Cancer Foundation.

Dragon boating serves as both a team-building exercise and a good full-body workout, Mooney noted, while the community’s diversity is celebrated through artistic performances at the site and education online. The funds raised enable the BC Cancer Foundation to enhance patients’ care and conduct research for potential new treatments.

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“This year we are adapting our festival to be as safe as possible,” Mooney said. The Spirit of the Dragon – Resilience will be uniting our community who together have persevered over the pandemic year.”

While the number of on-site activities is reduced from previous years, the musical and cultural aspects of the festival will be made available to virtual attendees worldwide through social media.

The variety of community engagement activities will include the first-ever Battle of the Bands, presented on TikTok and Instagram. “One lucky amateur band will get to perform live on-stage at the festival,” Mooney said.

Fundraising efforts to ensure the festival can continue years into the future include a Go Fund Me campaign, a festival auction, onsite promotions and other endeavours.

“Finally, we will be presenting our annual Lights of Courage Campaign, where our communities come together to honour those who fight cancer, those who have fought it and those who were lost in the fight against it,” Mooney said.

Colourful paper lanterns are once again on sale now through the end of August at local Fairway Market stores. People who purchase a lantern for a $2 minimum donation can write a message of hope on the tag and add it to the display at Ship Point during the festival, or leave it at Fairway Market. One dollar from each purchase will be donated to the BC Cancer Foundation.

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Rick Stiebel

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Rick Stiebel

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