Get your paddles ready. The Race on the River Dragon Boat Festival is about to start.
Kim MacLaren has never had cancer, but when she was asked to be on the board for the Race on the River seven or eight years ago, she knew it was something she could get behind.
“I just have so many friends and neighbours who have had cancer,” MacLaren said. “I’m sure we all know somebody who has been affected so it’s something I wanted to put my time into.”
After getting into it, she hasn’t been able to leave.
“It’s kind of something that gets into your blood,” she said. “You can’t leave it.”
The Race on the River Dragon Boat Festival is going to be held this Friday and Saturday at the Riverfront in New Glasgow.
MacLaren is president of this year’s festival and said everything is going great.
“We’re just hoping that all the teams are getting the support they need from everybody in the community.”
The have about 30 teams registered to take part in the festival.
The Race on the River will get underway with an opening ceremony Friday night at 6:45 p.m. and the ceremonial dotting of the dragon eye followed by some entertainment by Ann Holton.
MacLaren said they are going to end the Friday events a bit earlier this year than they have in the past because they’ve found people like to get home at a decent time so they can be out early for the boat races on Saturday.
The races start Saturday at 8:30 a.m. and continue until 2:45 p.m. Follow the races, the Pink Carnation ceremony will be held.
The ceremony is held to remember those who have passed away with breast cancer as well as honour those who have survived or are continuing their fight with the disease. Paddlers link boats and pass under the bridge. As they do carnations are released from those standing above.
All pledges raised go to Women Alike Breast Cancer Survivors Society, Special Olympics Northern Regions and Pictou County Prostate Cancer Support Association.
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What is a Dragon Boat?
• A typical Hong Kong style dragon boat is almost 12 metres long, one metre wide and weighs about 1,500 lbs. It consists of the main body of the boat, with a dragon head at the front and a long tail out the back.
• Constructed of wood, it holds 22 people for each race: 20 paddlers, a drummer (who keeps the beat of the stroke) and a steer-person (who keeps the boat straight). An equal number of people paddle on each side of the boat.
• Due to their size and design, dragon boats are very stable and therefore very suitable for beginners. Races take place on a straight course, with each boat in a lane nine metres wide. Race distances vary, depending on the event, from 200 metres to 640 metres. "Race on the River" is 250 meters.
To date, this festival has raised $1,437,194
▪ 2002: $78,728
▪ 2003: $94,167
▪ 2004: $105,700
▪ 2005: $117,050
▪ 2006: $115,000
▪ 2007: $106,500
▪ 2008: $111,150
▪ 2009: $120,649
▪ 2010: $140,000
▪ 2011: $150,811
▪ 2012: $160,217
• 2013: $137,222