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Dragon Boat Races To Kick Off Summer

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Photo credit: Darren Bailey

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Written by: adminMay 04, 2017

Written by: Benjamin Bailey

On June 24, Headwaters Park West will host the third annual Fort Wayne Dragon Boat Races. The races begin at 9 a.m. and will continue until about 4 p.m. Teams that are competing in the event can be comprised of local business employees or community members. Competitors will attempt to paddle their boats from the Wells Street Bridge to the Harrison Street Bridge before the other teams.

The event is based on the ancient Chinese tradition of welcoming in the summer, according to the event flier. At that time, Dragon Boat Racing coincided with the summer solstice and the planting of summer crops.

The Dragon Boat Races, formerly known as Riverpalooza, are hosted and organized by the Fort Wayne Mayor’s Youth Engagement Council. The Council is comprised of students from many local high schools. The students are hopeful that events like Dragon Boat Races will help expand the use of the city’s rivers and add to the social activities that Fort Wayne has to offer young people. The races are open to the community and will also feature outdoor activities, local musicians and food trucks.

“I feel very optimistic about the future of Fort Wayne. With our three rivers, all of the opportunities are there, we just need to make them happen,” said Hannah Benson, who is a senior attending Cornerstone High School on the Council.

The Mayor’s Youth Council has also organized the first annual River Rave, which will take place June 23 on the Wells Street Bridge.

While the Dragon Boat Races are open to all ages, the River Rave is geared toward younger students and is open to ages 14-21.

For the members on the Mayor’s Youth Engagement Council, these and other summer events will show young people and college students that Fort Wayne offers a plentiful amount of exciting experiences and activities.

“Fort Wayne has an interest in investing in the youth of our city, so that when they go to college in Fort Wayne or come back home from college, they realize this is a place they want to stay,” said Brandon Blumenherst, president of the council.

Kaleb McCague, who is also a senior on the council, spoke about the changing attitudes of many young people about Fort Wayne’s opportunities.

“I see the optimism and I see the growth. The boring stigma on Fort Wayne is going away and that’s a good thing,” McCague said.

For those interested in participating in the Dragon Boat Races, team registration is open until June 16. To find out more about Dragon Boat Races, including how to register and other summer events on the rivers, visit riverfrontfw.org.