The Mountain States Foundation’s eighth annual Dragon Boat Festival is set to run Sept. 7 on the lakefront at Winged Deer Park.
Patty Bolton, director of major events for the foundation, said this year’s festival has been re-configured based on participants’ input and is shaping up to be one of the largest and most exciting yet.
The festival’s Art in the Park exhibit has been expanded and more artisans will be offering their works for sale.
The food vendors court has also been expanded and will include the best offerings of a couple of new eateries along with all the favorites of festivals’ past.
The Health Fair will be back and will once again include discount screenings in the Mountain States HeartCoach, the educational walk-through Mega Heart and several new health services exhibitors.
Funville’s Dragon Land will return with its giant inflatable attractions for kids. And for the first time this year, Tri-Cities Stand-Up Paddle Boats will be on the water for exhibitions and test runs.
As for the dragon boat races themselves, Bolton said, even the racing lanes have been reversed so teams will be paddling downstream for faster heat times.
As of Monday, 40 teams have signed up for the race, or three more than the field entered for last year’s competition. And Bolton said others still have time to join in the competition and its underlying cause, to raise funds for the purchase of a new linear accelerator that will allow more precise treatment for patients at Mountain States Health Alliance’s Regional Cancer Centers.
“It’s a fundraiser,” Bolton said. And its purpose is to provide a state-of-the-art machine capable of pinpointing where cancer cells end and healthy cells begin and delivering radiation with such precision that only cancer cells are destroyed and normal tissue is left undamaged.
“Even if you don’t want to watch the races, there is so much to see and do, and all the food. There will be something there that everyone can enjoy,” Bolton said.
For those who wish to enter the race, the registration fee is $850 per boat for community-based teams and $900 for corporate teams. Each team must include 20 paddlers and a drummer to lead them on a 200-meter dash in a 40-foot wooden canoe. Every team will compete in two heats and the teams with the fastest heat times will advance to a final championship round.
The race is open to up to 50 boat teams. And each team member who raises $250 or more for the Cancer Treatment Centers’ new linear accelerator will receive a 2013 commemorative event paddle.
For more information on how to enter a boat or for vendor or sponsorship information, visit www.mountainstatesfoundation.org/dragonboat or call the foundation at 952-3110.