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Paddles up! Ice Dragon Boat Fest comes to Sylvan Lake this February

Ice Dragon Boat races. (File photo)

You’ve heard of dragon boating, but at Sylvan Lake, Alberta, this winter, the paddles ply the ice.

The Ice Dragon Boat Festival returns to the Central Alberta community Feb. 16 to 18.

“Over the past few years, many municipalities in Alberta have taken on the name Winterfest for their winter festivities. We decided to set ourselves apart and highlight the uniqueness of our winter events,” says special events coordinator Denise Papineau.

“This is the only event of its kind in western Canada with teams coming to participate in the unique winter sporting event. As the event grows, it brings more athletes to Sylvan Lake and recognition to the sport of ice dragon boat racing.”

Ice dragon boats are equipped with skate-like blades so participants can propel themselves along the race lane using spiked ice picks.

During this year’s second annual competition, 38 teams will participate, Papineau says.

While registration is full, people are encouraged to come cheer on the teams as they race throughout the weekend, and partake in some of the other events going on around the community.

“The weekend will have activities for the whole family and we encourage everyone to come out to watch, cheer, and partake in this remarkable experience.”

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Sarah Baker

About the Author: Sarah Baker

I joined Black Press in March 2023 and am looking forward to sharing stories about the local communities.
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