Sue MacSporran, of the Gorge-us Gals dragonboat team looks forward to the Victoria Dragonboat Festival every year.

ENTER THE DRAGON

Thousands of dragonboaters take over Victoria's Inner Harbour for the annual festival, Aug. 15-17

Dragons will soon descend on the Inner Harbour.

The 20th anniversary of the Victoria Dragonboat Festival boasts a fleet of more than 90 dragonboats from across the Pacific Northwest and Canada making their way to Ship’s Point. Festival general manager Glenys Haskins said the picturesque backdrop paired with the arrival of some of the best paddlers could make for the most exciting festival yet.

“It is not an event to be missed. We have the best grandstand you are going to see on the West Coast for watching races,” she said. “The paddlers and teams (also) blow me away every day, some with their commitment for the competition, some for coming together for those who face similar struggles.”

One of those paddlers is Sue MacSporran, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 26 years ago and had trouble walking without support. She helped start the MS Warriors team seven years ago and credits the sport with giving her a new lease on life.

“(When) we started the MS Warriors team … I was walking with two canes and the neurologist wanted me in a wheelchair,” MacSporran said. “If you saw me (today) you wouldn’t think there is anything wrong with me.”

She calls herself a “paddling addict” and says not only did the sport help improve her life physically and mentally, the camaraderie and fellowship has shaped her life.

“A lot of people don’t know what a dragonboat is, but when you watch the racing … you are glued to these races because they are so close and so exciting,” she said.

Haskins, who also started off as a paddler in 2009, moved on to volunteering and working part-time to eventually become general manager, couldn’t agree more, and said she, too, still gets excited about dotting the dragon’s eye in 2014 to kick off the family-friendly festival once more.

“You don’t get to see these boats in the Inner Harbour every day. This is the only event where they allow (it). It is a stunning venue; the stunning backdrop of the Inner Harbour far surpasses that of any other event,” she said.

The 20th annual Victoria Dragonboat Festival runs Aug. 15-17. See victoriadragonboat.com.

 

VICTORIA DRAGONBOAT FESTIVAL BY THE NUMBERS:

• 90 teams

• 80 races

• 2,500 paddlers

• 80,000 spectators

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Gordon Lightfoot still on the road at 81

Tickets for Island shows in Victoria and Nanaimo, selling well already

Vic High theatre tackles youth homelessness and more in 2020 musical

‘Runaways’ created in New York, but has parallels in Victoria: director

WINE NOTES: This blended red won’t get your goat

Robert Moyes takes us from South Africa to Spain, Chile to the Okanagan for his latest wine musings

REVIEW: UVic drama department shows a flair for comedy

Student actors have fun with artificial intelligence in Alan Ayckbourn’s Comic Potential

REVIEWS Pt. 2: Film fest heads into its final weekend in Victoria

Here’s your next batch of reviews from VFF 2020 from Monday’s intrepid film buff

Comedian Herb Dixon going Full Throttle in Greater Victoria

Comic gearing up for shows in Oak Bay and at Elements Casino next week

ALLAN REID: Chicken bonanza, Korean style

Simple Victoria restaurant knows how to please if your go-tos are chicken and fries

Island MusicFest going to Bahamas to close show

Comox Valley hosting annual musical extravaganza July 10-12 at the Fairgrounds

Take your pick of artsy activites this Family Day weekend

From museums and galleries to historic aircraft, there’s many options for families to choose from

Kirk Douglas, longtime influential movie star, dies at 103

LOS ANGELES — Kirk Douglas, the intense, muscular actor with the dimpled… Continue reading

Most Read