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September 21, 2018

Dragon Boats Churn Up Lake For A Good Cause


By Nick Wojton, contributing writer
OSWEGO, NY – For the second time in as many years, the Oswego Dragon Festival filled Breitbeck Park on Saturday with boats, music, and drum beating.

Two teams of paddlers at the Oswego Dragon fest in Breitbeck park near the finish line during a race on Saturday.

Two teams of paddlers at the Oswego Dragon fest in Breitbeck park near the finish line during a race on Saturday.

The long dragon boats raced along Lake Ontario’s waters while fundraising for the Oswego YMCA’s Strong Kids Campaign.

Racing began at 9 a.m. with the final race happening around 3 p.m.

Teams consisted of 20 paddlers to row the 40-foot long boats on a 200m course. Along with paddlers a drummer and someone to steer were also inside boats.

Bob Klose, a member of the Lake Effect Lizards and employee at the nine mile point station, said the festival was a great experience for his team.

“We enjoy the competition, team spirit and gathering,” Klose said.

The “Lake Effect Lizards” team tent set up inside the festival area during Dragon fest.

The “Lake Effect Lizards” team tent set up inside the festival area during Dragon fest.

In his second year paddling, Klose said the turnout for this year’s event grew from last year.

“It’ll be great seeing it continue to grow,” he said.

This year’s event featured 32 teams total, 10 of which were corporate sponsors, 16 community not-for-profit teams and six student teams.

Mindy Farnham, a student rower for the SUNY Oswego Lifestyles center team, said that despite it being fun, the rowing did get a little difficult.

“The toughest part was towards the middle as people started to get out of sync,” she said. “With a race that’s only 200 meters you don’t have time to fool around.”

Each team set up a team tent as their “headquarters” inside Breitbeck Park.

Along with the team tents were food vendors and music. Kids were able to keep busy in “Dragonland,” which consisted of face painting, karate demo, ParKour Demo, air hops and crafts.

Tired rowers head back up to the festival area after taking part in a race.

Tired paddlers head back up to the festival area after taking part in a race.

Teams were allowed a practice run before the event to get accustomed to the boats, which were provided by the YMCA along with paddles and life jackets.

“It’s a party in the park for a good cause,” Klose said.

Dragon boats are an ancient Chinese boat which is believed to originate 2,500 years ago.

“With so many people pushing for one goal, it’s hard not to bring people closer together,” Klose said. “It’s a great team builder.”

3 Responses “Dragon Boats Churn Up Lake For A Good Cause”

  1. anonymous
    September 9, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    I’m afraid the writer got several facts incorrect – and I was sad that the event coordinator, Jackie Sheffield, was not mentioned once in this article. Her dedication to the Y is what made this event happen. Props to Jackie and the Y staff!

  2. Steve Yablonski
    September 10, 2013 at 7:46 am

    The writer made attempts to contact her and the Y … they haven’t responded

  3. Philip Goldfinch
    September 10, 2013 at 9:04 am

    As one other reader wrote; this event was such a huge success due to Jackie Sheffield and her crew of volunteers ! And a small side-note; Dragon Boaters are not Rowers, nor do they Row…. They are Paddlers and they Paddle.

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