The shores and waterways of Victoria’s Inner Harbour are about to swell with people for the 25th annual Dragon Boat Festival.
This year, the three-day event is sponsored by Canada Dry and Fairway Market to help raise funds for the BC Cancer Foundation.
Over 2,000 paddlers and 30,000 spectators are expected over the weekend, with teams coming from around the world.
Events will begin at Ship Point along Wharf Street on Aug. 9 at 1 p.m., when a Taoist priest will initiate the Awakening of the Dragon ceremony by painting dots onto the eyes of a dragon-helmed ship. There will be live bands throughout the afternoon and evening, as well as a special 25th anniversary party beginning at 6:00 p.m.
At 8:30 p.m., the Lights of Courage display will begin to commemorate people who have battled cancer.
On Saturday, things will kick off with a Latin folklore dance at 9 a.m. followed by a Lion Parade beginning in Chinatown. Live bands and cultural performances will continue through until Sunday, and include OK Charlie, the Wong Sheun Kung Fu Club, the Lekwungen Dancers, the Island Ukuleles, the Lila Polynesian Dancers and many others.
Over 60 paddling teams will be racing throughout the weekend, including both women’s and mixed divisions. Additional challenge races include the Breast Cancer Survivors’ Challenge, the Great Grand Dragon Challenge– for anyone 59 and older– the Corporate Challenge, and the Women’s and Mixed Guts and Glory Challenge.
For more information, head to victoriadragonboat.com.