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

Friends, family suprise Current Swell singer and new wife with socially distant wedding

‘We just thought we were going over there to have a glass of champagne and do some paperwork’

Victoria art gallery provides Open Space in an online way

View Chantal Gibson’s recent show on the web, hear Indigenous stories on Instagram starting Sunday

Victoria brewery throws support behind still-operating restaurants

Vancouver Island Brewing initiates #TakeOutTuesday to keep local eateries in the public eye

LIVE MUSIC: Artist in Residence reaching into the community

Kathryn Calder to perform livestream show on YouTube channel this Friday, April 3

Victoria vocalist Maria Manna reaches out to hard-hit Italy with special online song

Jazz singer to perform ‘Hymn to Freedom’ with Italian lyrics on Facebook at 2 p.m. Monday

After 37 years, Campbell River Arts Council annual members’ show goes online

38th Annual Members Show shifted from physical gallery to website

COVID-19: Vancouver Island man forges hearts for his community

Dave Kasprick has already given out approximately 400, plans to make it 600

Hip tradition sing-along planned again for Canadians April 2

The Tragically Hip’s Paul Langlois is encouraging all to join him virtually in a’Porch Session.’

Vancouver Island musicians in quarantine thank neighbours with backyard performance

Nanaimo Chamber Orchestra director Karl Rainer and his sons play for those in self-isolation

Order of Canada Vancouver Island musician pens ‘The Ballad of Bonnie Henry’

Qualicum Beach lawyer and saxophonist Phil Dwyer notes health officer has become a ‘folk hero’

Campbell River journalist launches Isolationpalooza II

Featuring all local musicians, a volunteer virtual concert, of sorts

6.5-magnitude earthquake in Idaho shakes B.C. Interior

An earthquake was reportedly felt just before 5 p.m. throughout the Okanagan

Most Read