CORNWALL, Ontario – Racers climbed into their dragon boats and sailed off around 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 11 to participate in the ninth annual Cornwall Waterfest.
With 21 teams participating in this year’s dragon boat races, in comparison to eight teams in 2017, volunteers believed this year could be the best yet.
“We are very happy we have had such a good turn out from the community and such an enthusiastic response,” said Lea Emard, a volunteer and racer. “We feel that it’s a perfect day for a race and people are in such high spirits.”
Additional to the new crowd of participants, Waterfest introduced new food vendors to the usual array of options this year. Waterfest shirts were also being sold for the first time, with the new event logo. Live entertainment, artisan vendors, tai chi training and more activities offered something for everyone to enjoy.
This year, awards will be given to winning teams within each division, including Sport, Community, Women and Youth divisions. Both the Women and Youth division are new additions this year. Prizes will also be given to teams with the overall and local with the fastest time of the day.
“We have had a really good group of volunteers that have worked very hard to help reach out into the community and let people know about the event,” said Emard. “We have really attracted new people that have never participated before.”
Emard said she was happy to see participants racing for the first time to try the sport and support a good cause.
“Cornwall Hospice is our partner charity, so we are helping to raise some money for the benefit of Hospice,” said Emard. “Hospice is going to get some of the proceeds from the 50/50 draw, as well as people collected pledges and that money goes directly to Hospice. They also have a silent auction table set up and that money goes back to Hospice too.”
For every $50 raised towards Cornwall Hospice, participants will have one ballot submitted into a draw in which they can win a trip to Toronto, with one-night hotel stay, to see the play Come From Away.
Emard said that Cornwall Waterfest organizers are very thankful for this year’s sponsors, as they provided essential services for the event, like getting the boats into the water, assisting with setup and ensuring the safety of the water.
“Cornwall Seaway News has been a supporter of this community event for many years,” said Cornwall Seaway News General Manager Rick Shaver. Cornwall Seaway News is a title media sponsor of the event.
“The organizing committee does a great job. And seeing all the people participate, plus the crowds cheering on their teams along the waterfront, is positive for Cornwall,” he added.
Cornwall Waterfest was held at Power Dam Dr. and Second St. West on the St. Lawrence River.