Community Enjoys Beautiful Weather for Lake Superior Dragon Boat Festival

Alejandra Palacios
Updated: August 24, 2019 08:31 PM

It was a beautiful and sunny day for the Lake Superior Dragon Boat Festival Saturday. Over 50 teams competed in the 18th annual event.


"It was a beautiful day. It’s nice flat water and the races are going fast today,” said Mehgan Blair, the co-chair of the 2019 Lake Superior Dragon Boat Festival.

The dragon boat festival was off to an exciting start as 1,200 paddlers from the region competed in the 400 meter race in Barker's Island.

"We have three boat heats this year that's narrowing the course and making the course faster this year,” said Blair.

Teams have been training for a while, making sure their coordination and speed was on point.

“Being out of Thunder Bay, we practice from early June to now, about once a week we do an hour of paddling,” said Dave Koski, the captain of the Legends in our own Minds team.

The Legends in our own Minds team has been competing at the dragon boat fest for years. They’re well-known for their speed. Some of the dedicated team members travel very far to partake in the competition every year.

“I’ve been involved with the team since 2001. I come from Ireland to visit friends and this event is the big part of it,” Michael Murphy, a team member of the Legends in our own Minds team, said.

The local R U Cirrus team has been part of the event for five years. But some team members have been part of the fest since it started 18 years ago.

“I’ve been part of races for many years since it started in 2002. When I started with Cirrus Aircraft five years ago I brought a team and event to Cirrus,” Kathy Pykkonen, the manager for the R U Cirrus team, said.

This year the festival is raising money to give back to the homeless community in the Twin Ports.

"The rotary service club is making housing the theme of this year’s dragon boast festival. We are partnering together to have a good time and raise support for addressing housing issues in our community," David Clanaugh, the Western Lake Superior Habitat for Humanity executive director, said.

Teams look forward to helping the charitable cause and also enjoy the comradery and challenge that comes with the sport.

“We enjoy all aspects of the festival, the food, the drinks, the paddling,” said Koskie.

“It’s a great team building event. You have 21 people in a boat and we paddle for about two minutes twice during the day for the event, it’s an awesome time to get together,” said Pykkonen.


Alejandra Palacios

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