Saturday, June 9, 2018 - 09:00

The Welland Heritage Council & Multicultural Centre is hosting the 17th annual Welland Dragon Boat Festival (WDBF) this Saturday, June 9, at the Welland International Flatwater Centre (WIFC). Since the inaugural festival in 2002, which lured 600 participants and 24 teams, the event has grown significantly.

The Welland Dragon Boat Festival helps develop athletes, foster relationships, connect communities, and also assists with raising funds to support the Welland Heritage Council and Multicultural Centre and its shelter. This not-for-profit organization helps newcomers settle in Welland through community focused workshops, networking, and nurturing social connections.

Competing in the WDBF encourages social inclusion and challenges beginner and advanced athletes. Teams can additionally use the race as a club crew qualifier to the Dragon Boat Canada Club Crew competition. Qualifier teams must be registered with Dragon Boat Canada in order to advance to national or international levels.

Showcasing the Welland Dragon Boat Festival at the WIFC every June gets the community anticipating other Dragon Boat events hosted at one of the most sought after flat-water facilities in the world. This year, the WIFC is hosting the Canadian Dragon Boat Championships from June 28 to July 1. This event will lure 2,000 athletes from across Canada with a mission to capture the championship title.

"We always look forward to the Welland Dragon Boat Festival because it sets the bar for the events that follow," said Richard Dalton, Manager of Recreation and Culture. "Locals appreciate this event even more so because the participants are local and really challenge themselves to give their best while supporting the Heritage Council and Multicultural Centre."

For more information on events on the water visit wifc.ca, or for more information on the Welland Dragon Boat Festival visit wellanddragonboatfestival.com.