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Dragon Boat Bash canceled

-Messenger file photo by Hans Madsen
One of the youth teams returns to shore after finishing their heat at 2019's Badger Lake Dragon Boat Bash in John F. Kennedy Memorial Park.

The Badger Lake Dragon Boat Bash was not spared from the snowballing agony of COVID-19 cancelations this year.

The Badger Lake Dragon Boat Association announced Monday that the annual August event would be canceled this year due to the virus’ lingering public health threat.

“We put it off as long as we could, but there was no way we could clean life jackets and paddles between each person,” said co-chair Linda Donner. “The concert would’ve been a bust sitting 10 feet apart. We struggled with it but had to get it done.”

The event takes an entire year to plan with about 150 volunteers. Donner said the summer tradition at Kennedy Park typically draws about 1,500 to 2,000 people on Friday and another 500 to 1,000 on Saturday.

This is the first cancellation the event has ever seen in its 24 years.

“The health and safety of our community is our highest priority,” the association said in a press release. “With the ongoing public health threat due to COVID-19, canceling this year’s event, while a difficult decision, is undoubtedly the right thing to do.”

Even if large events were permitted later in the summer or fall, the association said requirements to protect participants would make the event impractical, a common complaint cited in cancelations for myriad events that have gotten the axe this year.

Next year’s Dragon Boat Bash will be held August 13th and 14th at Badger Lake in Kennedy Park. Entertainment scheduled for next year features Fort Dodge’s Lone Tree Revival.

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