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L.A. Beat

Dragon Boat Festival family fun back after two year hiatus in Henderson Lake park

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Like everything else, The ATB Dragon Boat Dragon boat festival got cancelled because of Covid, but it is back again this year after a two year hiatus to celebrate their twentieth anniversary in Henderson Lake Park.

“Technically thew twentieth anniversary was last year, but we’re going to celebrate it anyway,” said Don Robb ATB Rotary Dragon boat Festival Marketing Chair.


Volunteers set up the Rose Ceremony platform for the ATB Rotary Dragon boat Festival, June 24-26. Photo by Richard Amery

While everything is basically where it has been in past years— in Henderson Lake Park across from Exhibition Park, this year, the grounds have been expanded to include a larger kid zone and Rotary city has been spread out a little more for teams to relax in their tents in between races.


Planning Committee Chair Diane Randell said there are 48 teams competing this year including 29 from Southern Alberta and 19 from out of town including more than 800 paddlers who will be participating in 59 races, beginning  Friday, June 24 at 5 p.m. There are are no American teams competing this year.


“We‘re really excited to bring back the ATB Rotary Dragon Boat Festival,” Randell said, adding the teams range from teens to seniors.


“We have youth teams right up to senior teams,” she said.


 Races begin at 5 p.m., Friday and bright and early at 8 a.m. Saturday and Sunday morning.


“Dragon boat Racing  is definitely a sport. You can go and see Dragon boat racing somewhere every weekend during the summer if you want to,” she said. 

 There will be the traditional blessing of the dragon boats.

The ATB Rotary Dragon boat Festival is June 24-26 in Henderson lake park. Photo by Richard Amery


“And they will dot the eyes so the dragons know where they’re going,” Randell said.


 There will be a beer gardens for the adults, vendors,  and all kinds of attractions.


 Live entertainment begins at 5 p.m. on Friday with local country singer Dusty Dee Litchfield on Friday,  at 11 a.m. on Saturday with Standard Time jazz and 11 a.m. with folk duo Reid Seibert at 11 a.m Sunday.


There will be 26 bands performing, 12 food vendors and a variety of vendors featuring everything from fitness equipment to vehicles. 

“ We’ve expanded the Kids Zone. The Festival has always been a family friendly  event,” Randell said.


 She is excited about the entertainment line-up which includes classic rock, blues, jazz, country, folk and kids acts, plus plenty of dance troupes.


Classic rock favourites the Chevelles are headlining on Friday night playing two sets  at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. and country band Coyote Junction headline with two sets on Saturday at 8 p.m.and 9:30 p.m.

Lawless Murphy close things off on Sunday afternoon with the last set of the event at 4:30 p.m.


Parking  can be challenging, so  the organizers worked with Exhibition Park to allow parking in the East lot of Exhibition Park.


 The official opening ceremonies are at 6 p.m. Friday. The Rose Ceremony is at noon on Saturday.


The ATB Rotary Dragon boat Festival is June 24-26 in Henderson lake park. Photo by Richard Amery

Randell praised all of the  organizers, sponsors and volunteers for making the Dragon Boats a go again. But more volunteers are needed.

“We have over 200 volunteers, but we need more, especially at the docks,”  she said.


 Admission to the event is free.


More information including the schedule, results and  volunteering opportunities at

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor


Last Updated ( Thursday, 23 June 2022 13:41 )  
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