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Dragon Boat Bash is back

-Messenger file photo
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 event returns in August after being canceled last year.

Dragon boat racing will return to Badger Lake this summer with Dragon Boat Bash on Aug. 13- 14.

The annual event returns a year after being canceled due to COVID-19. The decision to go forward with hosting the event this year came recently, according to event Co-chair Linda Donner.

“The board waited to see how things were going to happen with other events in the country and the Midwest,” she said. “They’re going ahead with the State Fair… As more people got vaccinated we felt like our odds were pretty good to try and hold the event, so we decided to go ahead.”

The annual Badger Lake Dragon Boat Bash started 25 years ago, but this year’s event will be the 24th since last year’s event was canceled.

Teams from all over the area will converge upon John F. Kennedy Memorial Park and Badger Lake for the competition, which includes several adult divisions and a youth division. Adult entry fees are $600 per team and youth team entry fees are $300.

-Messenger file photo
Morgan Smith, of Ames, a member of the SRD69 Dragon Boat Team, in her now traditional inflatable pig costume at the 2019 Badger Lake Dragon Boat Bash in John F. Kennedy Memorial Park. The SRD69 team is made up of employees of the USDA Labs in Ames. Behind them, in second place, is the Guardsman of the Galaxy team.

“We are one of the lowest fees in the Midwest because we’ve had such great business sponsorship in the community,” Donner said.

The Friday night of the event will kick off with a silent auction and a concert featuring Fort Dodge band Lone Tree Revival. Tickets to the concert are $10 and registered paddlers get in free.

The silent auction benefits UnityPoint Health — Trinity Regional Medical Center’s Cancer Center.

On Saturday, the local Lions Club starts the day with a pancake breakfast at the lake before the teams hit the water for the day. There will also be plenty of kids’ activities and concessions available throughout the event.

“It truly is a sport of teambuilding and working together and it’s a great way for a company to get some camaraderie with employees or groups of people to get together for camaraderie,” Donner said. “It was started to bring people together for healthy, active exercise and enjoy the outdoors and the water.”

-Messenger file photo
Members of the Lysine Lizards dragon boat team paddle their way to first place in the Division D bracket at the 2019 Badger Lake Dragon Boat Bash in John F. Kennedy Memorial Park.

She said that with COVID-19, there were no dragon boat teams that even practiced last year, but her goal right now is to get the boats out of storage and have some teams practicing out on the water over the summer.

So far, she said, one team has registered for the event. She hopes to see many more send in their registrations in the coming weeks.

The Dragon Boat Bash is free and open to the public to watch the competition.

“It’s a really fun time to just come out and watch,” Donner said. “If you’ve never seen it, it’s a great opportunity to come and spend a Saturday on the lake and just sit on the hill and watch. Kennedy Park is just a gorgeous place and they take good care of it.”

Information on how to register a team, sign up to volunteer or donate items for the silent auction can be found at www.bldba.com.

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