Their drummer encouraging them to work hard to the finish, a team’s paddlers crank their way to victory during last year’s Victoria Dragon Boat Festival. Spectators line both sides of the Inner Harbour to watch the event, which also includes many land-based activities at Ship Point. Don Descoteau/Monday Magazine

FIRE AND FURY: Dragon boats heat up the Inner Harbour

24th annual festival Aug. 10-12 sees paddlers do battle in a busy Victoria waterway

For the 24th year running, the Inner Harbour will come alive with the colours, sights, sounds and action of the Canada Dry Victoria Dragon Boat Festival, from Aug. 10-12.

Each year thousands of paddlers, and thousands more spectators flock to the harbour to take part in a water sport practiced in southern China for over 2,000 years. Now a worldwide phenomenon, dragon boat racing honours its roots by featuring colourful boats adorned with decorative Chinese dragon heads and tails.

Victoria’s festival is the only one in Canada to featuring racing in a working harbour, and in 2018 it promises to be new and improved due to new management, with easier registration, expanded food services and new ways for paddlers and the public to experience the races on the shore.

Indeed, the festival is not all about boating. For those not currently occupied with a paddle, there will be an international food court, a beer garden, live bands, the Lights of Courage lantern display supporting the BC Cancer Foundation, and the festival opening Eye Dotting Ceremony, where the dragon boats are awoken by Taoist priests.

For schedule and volunteering information, visit victoriadragonboat.com.

– Monday Magazine staff

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