Sixty-three community teams, eight breast cancer survivor teams, and more than 1,400 paddlers are getting ready to hit the water and make a dash for the finish line during the 15th anniversary Peterborough’s Dragon Boat Festival on Saturday, June 13th, 2015 at Little Lake, Del Crary Park.
Races get underway at 8:30 a.m. with the Mixed Medical Challenge, followed by the Mixed Business Challenge, Breast Cancer Survivor Challenge, Mixed Community Challenge Ladies Challenge, Community Competitive Challenge, and Junior Challenge. Morning heats in each division will determine the placement of teams for the afternoon races, based on fastest times.
Following the division heats is the Top Fundraiser Bonus Sprint race, which was introduced at the 2014 Festival. Starting around 11:15 a.m., two heats of the new sprint race, which is only 250 metres, will take place involving the first eight teams to have raise $2,000.
Special Opening Ceremonies marking the 15th anniversary of the Festival will commence around 11:30 a.m. following the special breast cancer survivor race, featuring eight survivor teams. Local dignitaries involved in the ceremonies include: Mayor Daryl Bennett, MPP Jeff Leal, PRHC Foundation president and CEO Lesley Heighway, and Robert Wellstood, CEO of the Festival’s platinum sponsor Kawartha Credit Union.
The Peterborough Singers Pop Ensemble will perform the National Anthem and perform during the traditional flower ceremony following the opening ceremonies. During the flower ceremony, announcers Angela Rose and Vince Bierworth will read the names of former members from the survivor teams who have lost their battle against breast cancer—a powerful reminder of what the festival is all about.
Afternoon races will begin again around 1:00 p.m. with the Community Competitive Spring, followed by afternoon heats of each division. Championship finals begin at 3:20 p.m. with the Junior Finals, followed by the Ladies Championship, the Breast Cancer Survivor McKenzie Cup race, and the Community Competitive Championship.
The final race of the day, the Regatta Championship, featuring the fastest teams from the Mixed Medical, Mixed Business, and Mixed Community divisions, plus a wildcard spot for the fastest mixed afternoon heat time, will take place around 4:00 p.m.
Building on a successful 2014 event, where more than $200,000 was raised to support the Peterborough Regional Health Centre’s (PRHC) mammography program with new reporting workstations for radiologists and new breast viewing software, the 2015 Dragon Boat Festival’s goal is to raise another $200,000 towards ensuring a strong future for the Breast Assessment Centre at the Peterborough Regional Health Centre (PRHC) by contributing to the purchase of a new, state-of-the-art mammography unit.
Breast cancer survivors’ dragon boating is an international movement inspired by the research of Canadian sports medicine specialist Don McKenzie. Survivors of breast cancer join together to paddle dragon boats to the benefit of their physical health and social wellbeing. Survivors Abreast introduced dragon boat races to Peterborough in 2001.
For more information about Peterborough’s Dragon Boat Festival, visit www.peterboroughdragonboatfestival.com.