On May 29 the Edmonton Dragon Boat Racing Club held their annual Open House BBQ. A free event meant to not only kick off the season, but also welcome and invite the community to try out an activity most don’t consider when they think about the stunning River Valley and the wet and winding North Saskatchewan.
As the tables and tents went up, the BBQ’s came out along with a determined sun and the hopes of the club members who volunteered their time to promote a sport they love dearly. Club president Dawn Buettner and vice president Ivy Yue shared their expectations for the day.
“We want to introduce people to dragon boating and a new way to enjoy this beautiful city of ours. Hopefully we will convince some people to sign up today and start paddling tomorrow.”, said Buettner.
“I’d really like everyone to have a great time… get on the water and try out a new sport. And maybe some of them will come back and join us for some adventures.”, added Yue.
A full court press of promotion and exposure did not disappoint as close to 300 people attended the event and tried their hand at paddling a dragon boat. Within the long line up of eager would-be paddlers was a mix of weekend warriors looking for a challenge, curious couples wanting to share an experience, people drawn in by friends who are club members and lots of families with bright-eyed youngsters whose nervous grins were transformed into huge smiles once they exited the boats. Some returning two, three more times for another go at mastering Edmonton’s temperamental river.
“I love dragon boating!” – quoted from a three year old participant.
And that is what made this open house a success. Showing off why our summer evenings and some weekends are consumed. Showing off why we deny our friends the privilege of our company when they ask if we have plans. Showing off why we fight the opportunistic blood thirsty mosquitoes and party crashing thunderstorms. Showing off why we put our bodies through unnatural torture.
So why? Because we too, love dragon boating.
If you volunteered this past Sunday, like me, then you were overwhelmed by the huge turnout.
You were working the BBQ line. You dazzled at the info booth. You manned your team table like a legend. You blew the minds of canoe and kayak fanatics with an erg demonstration. You coached or steered or directed the guests onto a dragon boat and gave them an experience to chat about after. You sat in a boat over and over to assist first time paddlers on the fast flowing river. You were an integral part of the day’s accomplishments and your time and effort were noticed and appreciated.
The season is here and we are excited to see what it holds for us! Check back for future posts about anything and everything that is EDBRC and dragon boating.