May 14, 2019 1:28 pm

Dragon Boat Festival on Wascana to host championships

A Canadian women's dragon boat team is racing in Hungary.

Marie-Geneviève Houpert / Facebook

Regina’s Wascana Lake is hosting the Canadian Dragon Boat Championships this summer.

The event takes place July 18-20 with over 200 teams from across Canada taking part.

The Dragon Boat Festival took place last year during Labour Day long weekend, but this year the event aligns with the national championships.

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“We’re very pleased that Regina was chosen as the location for this year’s event,” said Amber Smale, chair of the host committee.

“Traditionally the championships are held in Ontario, but Dragon Boat Canada decided to take it west this year. We won the bid because of our wonderful history of hosting world-class events.”

Aiming to be inclusive, the event will have age categories junior through senior, divisions for universities, breast cancer survivors, and the blind and partially sighted.

The festival begins with an “Awakening of the Dragons” ceremony by Taoist priests, where they dot the eyes of a carved dragon attached to the boat to end its slumber and re-energize its spirit. There will also be a traditional lion dance.

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Throughout the event, there will be traditional Chinese entertainment, activities and crafts, and a celebration tent downtown. The Regina Hotel Association is the first sponsor to be announced.

“Dragon boat racing is a great sport that builds camaraderie and is great fun,” said Barry Eisenzimmer, president of the Regina Dragon Boat Festival. “We’re thrilled that our local teams will have the opportunity to meet and socialize with Canada’s elite in the sport.”

Dragon boat festivals are based on an ancient Chinese legend dating back over 2,000 years. Dragons are mythical in Chinese culture and believed to be the rulers of rivers, lakes, and seas.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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