Dragon Boat racing returns to Stone Lake

August 11, 2018

La PORTE – Dragon Boat racing will return to Stone Lake in La Porte on Sept. 8 at 9 a.m. when Dunebrook hosts its fifth annual Dragon Boat Races.

Teams and sponsors can register at http://dunebrook.org/event/dragon-boat-races-2018 or email pam@dunebrook.org.

Not sure what Dragon Boat racing is? Watch highlights of Dunebrook’s 2017 Dragon Boat Races at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5DidpQWXCg

“The momentum is building as more and more people experience dragon boat racing,” said Board President and Dragon Boat Co-Chair Ted Perzanowski. “Adrenaline is pumping as you hear the sound of the drum and the teams are racing to the finish line. Whether you’re paddling in the boat or cheering from the shore, the excitement is heart pounding.”

Teams race in three heats in 41 foot canoe-like vessels that have an ornate dragon head and tail on the bow and stern. The course is 300 meters – long enough to be competitive yet able to be conquered.

The fastest team earns bragging rights and a dragon trophy. UPS is the reigning two-time champ. A Spirit Award is also given annually – talk to ted, inc.’s Red Thunder and the Smurfs from Franciscan Health-Michigan City are the reigning co-winners.

“Dragon Boat racing requires synchronicity and finesse more than power to win,” said Perzanowski. “We’ve had paddlers from ages 13 to 70 paddling on teams. It’s a friendly competition.”

He recommends Dunebrook’s Dragon Boat Races as a teambuilding activity for businesses, health providers, not-for-profits, faith groups and municipalities. A team consists of 16-20 paddlers (ages 13 and up), and a drummer. Friends and family can put together their own team, and the cost is just $72 per team member. Individual paddlers can register and be placed on a team for just $100.

Dunebrook provides the boat, a steersman (to keep the boat on course), paddles, life preserver, drum and team bandana. Teams bring the energy and spirit.

“Spectators can enjoy child-friendly activities and food vendors as they cheer on their favorite team,” said Dunebrook’s Executive Director Jeanne Ann Cannon. “This is a free, family-friendly event, and our volunteers help to make it a fun day for everyone.”

“Our teams and sponsors make it possible for Dunebrook to bring this unique event to our community,” Cannon added.

Huber’s Marine, ADS Acme Communications, CLH, P.C., GIS and Nielsen Automotive Group are some of the companies that have supported the races every year. Lead sponsors this year are Anthem, NIPSCO, TKNN GIVES and talk to ted, inc. They are excited to welcome additional Early Bird teams from American Licorice, La Porte Hospital, Franciscan Health Michigan City, Journey Church and First Church of God.

“These sponsorships and teams provide support to our work in helping parents help their children grow up safe, healthy and happy,” said Cannon. “We provide free and confidential parenting support and forensic interviewing. Thousands of children have seen our Body Safety program in their elementary school. To us, nothing could be more important or vital to our community’s future than the well-being of our children.”

Team sponsorships are available at $1,500, $2,500 and $4,000 levels, each with special benefits. Non-racing sponsorships are also available, and range from $100 to $1,000. Dunebrook offers a special two-year Dock Sponsor for just $500.

Perzanowski said that sponsors benefit from the visibility of supporting the Dragon Boat Races because several hundred people attend each year. With social media, sponsorships attract even more attention.

For more information, contact Pam at Dunebrook at (800) 897-0007, or email pam@dunebrook.org.

Information about Dunebrook’s free and confidential parenting programs or volunteer opportunities is available at www.dunebrook.org or by calling (800) 897-0007.

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