This coming February just got a whole lot more exciting with news that Ice Dragon Boat Racing will be held Feb. 10 and 11 at Sylvan Lake.
Held in only three other Canadian communities, this will mark a first for holding the event in western Canada, said Monique Pummings, the town’s director of recreation, culture, tourism, and economic development.
The town is working with the Montreal-based Mission Dragon Boat in planning the event.
“We are super excited to be bringing it to Alberta,” she said, adding that each team will consist of eight to 10 ‘paddlers’ plus a steer person and a drummer.
On the 10th, teams will have an opportunity to book a practice time, and then the actual races are slated to run on Feb. 11.
“Each team will have an opportunity to participate in two races,” she said, adding that there will be trophies and medals to hand down for the various categories, too.
“This event is really open to anybody who wants to participate - it doesn’t have to be a Dragon Boat team; it can be a business or company that would like to do some team-building activities, or just a bunch of friends who would like to have a good time,” she said. “Also, it’s open to anyone over the age of 13 and parental consent is required if they are under 18,” she said.
“There is truly a place for everybody. There will also be prizes for things like the best-dressed team or best team spirit - those types of things, too, to make it even more fun and engaging,” explained Pummings.
“We are working on getting a big tent to put up on the ice, and to just have a really good time with some bands and music - it will be lots of fun and really great for the community,” she said.
“Our ice slide should also be completed just a couple of days prior to the event, so that will be set up as well.
“It’s also happening a week before our Winter Fest activities, so February will really be a super-fun month around here,” she said.
Pummings explained that the actual Ice Dragon Boat Race track will be 100m.
Originally, the idea was to stage the event in 2020, but the pandemic forced the Town and the Sylvan Lake Chamber of Commerce to shelve the plan.
Pummings had even visited Ottawa to check out the event. “It was absolutely fantastic - they do such a good job. And we thought that we just needed to do this in Sylvan Lake,” she said.
Meanwhile, she pointed out how the Ice Dragon Boat Races are a tremendous opportunity to showcase Sylvan Lake in a whole new and unique way.
“I know how awesome Sylvan Lake is and I know how Sylvan Lakers get behind our events and they get really excited and they want to participate,” she said.
“Also, anytime we have a chance to show off Sylvan Lake, we want to take those opportunities. We expect to see a lot of visitors coming into town for the races, and also visiting the restaurants, shops, and hotels. That is something that is really exciting for us, too.”
Pummings also said they are on the lookout for sponsors to help make the event even bigger and better, plus volunteer help will be needed as well.