Dragon Boats Dwell in Superior

Training and Preparations Underway for Dragonboat Festival

Superior, WI- A tradition with roots in ancient China continues this weekend in the Northland.

It’s the Dragon Boat Festival, and the rowers have been hard at work preparing.

There Be Dragons in Lake Superior, as Dragon Boats and their riders arrived to train for the 16th Annual Dragon Boat Festival.

Rowers gathered on the shores of Barker’s Island Marina to stretch, go through techniques, and get used to their new teams. All to gear up for the races on Saturday.

The Dragon Boat festival draws participants from as far as Ireland, Canada, and other parts of the Midwest to cruise along the crystal blue waters of Lake Superior.

“There is no better way to experience the Dragon Boat Festival than in a dragon boat, on the water,” said Superior Mayor Jim Paine, who is serving as a steerer once again this year. “And to be able to stand in the back and watch people pour their heart and soul into this race as well as this community which is what this festival’s really about. All day long in one of the most beautiful places in superior, nothing beats it. This is my favorite festival of the year.”

Even if you’re a mayor, you’re still one part of a well oiled machine of a team. Coaches say the magic happens when teams can work in smooth, perfect sync.

“I know the boat’s going fast,” said Julie Deters, coach for the Wiki Wiki Ohana team, and festival participant since it’s beginnings in 2002. “But there’s an added, an added excitement, an added thrill, to really uniting with other people, to truly coming together with together with other people.”

Now Dragon Boating is no leisurely sport, it really works out the shoulders, core and legs. But coaches still say anyone can do it.

Folks can register online, and if you don’t have a team, for 40 dollars you can sign up as an individual paddler. The races run all day this Saturday.

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