Dragonboat festival launches Aug. 1-2

BURLINGTON — The Porter Medical Center Paddlers, United Technologies Team UTAS and the Woodchuck Cider Pink Paddlers are racing for fun and fundraising at the 10th annual Lake Champlain Dragon Boat Festival and Races Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 1-2, at Burlington’s Waterfront Park. Each team is composed of 20 paddlers and a drummer. Teams race in a full sprint, head to head in 41-foot long dragon boats over a 200-meter course.
On Sunday there will be 50 community and breast cancer survivor teams competing — over 1,200 paddlers. Sunday’s races start at 8:30 a.m. and conclude at around 4 p.m. with the presentation of the Champ Cup crowning the 2015 champions. The event is free and open to the public with entertainment, great food, prize drawings and raffles. Saturday afternoon features 12 breast cancer survivor teams from all over the U.S. and Canada plus Vermont’s own Dragonheart Vermont Sisters teams, celebrating life and racing in a special 500-meter event.
New for 2015 is the Paddles Up Dance Party on Saturday. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Lake Champlain Dragon Boat Festival and during that time the festival has raised 1.4 million dollars for Vermont cancer-related programs. In celebration, Dragonheart Vermont is hosting the Paddles Up Party from 6:30-9 p.m. in the Woodchuck Hard Cider Garden at Waterfront Park with musical guests Reverend Ben Donovan and the Congregation. For tickets and information visit the festival website at www.ridethedragon.org. 
The festival continues to be a popular teambuilding event for businesses and groups who want to paddle together, have a great time and raise money to support cancer survivors in our community through Dragonheart Vermont and Survivorship NOW’s cancer wellness programs.
The core of Dragonheart Vermont’s mission is to give back to the community, and over the last 9 years the money raised from the Lake Champlain Dragon Boat Festival has supported critical cancer programs in Vermont. This year, festival proceeds will support Dragonheart Vermont and Survivorship NOW, a Williston-based cancer wellness program that helps bridge the gap all cancer survivors face between treatment and recovery. The wellness center offers a variety of free classes featuring exercise, nutrition, art, music and more to empower cancer survivors to live well. Survivorship NOW has the strong endorsement of cancer survivors, doctors, and health care institutions in our area. Visit www.survivorshipnowVT.org for complete program information.

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