Lethbridge’s 18th annual Dragon Boat Festival held at Henderson Lake

A photo of racers at the Lethbridge's 18th annual Dragon Boat Festival. .
A photo of racers at the Lethbridge's 18th annual Dragon Boat Festival. . Chris Chacon/Global News

Henderson Lake in Lethbridge was packed with spectators and competitors on Friday, Saturday and Sunday for this year’s 18th annual ATB Financial Lethbridge Rotary Dragon Boat Festival.

“Dragon boating is one of the best team sports there is,” said Joann Reynolds, a dragon boat drummer and paddler.

READ MORE: Team-building for a good cause at the Dragon Boat Festival

The event featured an array of activities along with live music performances, but the main focus was on the stiff competition on the water. Sixty-four teams from all over North America sported their team colours and paddled for the fastest time while also competing in several other categories. There are 20 paddlers per boat and they race 500 metres.

“This is the first time I’ve done it,” said Kevin Braun, a dragon boat paddler. “The amount of people, the support [and] everybody here — you can see the camaraderie. It’s great, it’s amazing.”

READ MORE: What makes Vancouver’s annual Dragon Boat festival a success?

“It’s exciting — you get an adrenaline rush when you’re in the boat — and then people come and they fall in love with that and they enjoy the entertainment on the stage and just bring the family and have a good time,” said Shane Ellis, past chair of the Rotary Dragon Boat Festival.

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The event has grown over the years and it raises money for the Lethbridge Rotary, which is used for community events and club initiatives.