Penticton Dragon Boat Festival in 2019. (Western News file photo)

COVID restrictions sink Penticton Dragon Boat Festival

The two-day festival is one of three big events in Penticton cancelled Monday

  • Aug. 23, 2021 12:00 a.m.

For the second year in a row, the Penticton Dragon Boat Festival has had to cancel their two- day event, Sept. 11 and 12. Organizers had been working hard towards an event that would recognize the festival’s 20th year.

The annual event attracts thousands of participants for two days of racing on Skaha Lake, and brings an economic impact worth millions of dollars to the city of Penticton.

“We’ve been following the Provincial Return To Sport Plan, and as we moved into Phase 3 of the restart plan, it looked like the province was meeting and exceeding targets. We were very hopeful we’d be able to put on another great event. The sport needs it, and the City of Penticton needs to have a big event to celebrate”, said Don Mulhall, Race Director. “To say we were disappointed is an understatement. But, honestly, we weren’t surprised considering the rising infection rates.”

Locally, some teams are continuing to train, following strict COVID-19 protocols as directed by viaSport BC.

“It is so good for our mental and physical health,” Survivorship team president Heather Griffiths explains.

As Mulhall and organizers look to next year, it will be another year they can’t celebrate 20 years of dragon boating.

“Hopefully, there’s no statute of limitations for how many years later you can celebrate your 20th annual,” said Mulhall.

As organizers begin to plan “2020 version 3.0” for 2022, the festival would like to take a moment to thank our amazing volunteers, Penticton city staff and city council, our sponsors, our great vendors, and all the amazing teams – from around our province and beyond – that have supported our event, they added.

The Okanagan Super Sprints (including a Seniors’ Only day of racing) will be held June 10 and 11, 2022. The Penticton Dragon Boat Festival will be held Sept. 10 and 11, 2022.

Penticton Ironman and Granfondo Penticton have also cancelled their events for this year.

READ MORE: Ironman 2021 cancelled

READ MORE: Record numbers show up to try dragon boating

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