On some very old maps, unexplored areas of the world carried the words: “Here There Be Dragons.”
It was a warning that mariners should regard these places with great fear.
But Kitimat’s dragons are a friendly bunch.
As you’ll find out when you take in this year’s Community Dragon Boat Races (for all of Kitimat’s events, including the dragon boat races, click here).
They take place on Saturday, June 6 at Minette Bay and will once again feature the good-natured competition and fun that has been the hallmark of the event since it started four years ago.
Dragon Boat racing here began with the female Northern Spirit team which paddled to conspicuous success at the Dragon Boat festival in Vancouver.
Their desire to get as many people as possible involved led to this event, one that has been drawing more teams every year.
But where last year that expansion in entries was still confined to the immediate area, they are now getting calls from as far away as Cultus Lake on the Lower Mainland.
Ruth Mills, a founding member of the Spirit squad, says the benefit of the sport is that anybody can get involved. “There are no age or fitness limits, somebody with no experience can do it.”
And that was demonstrated last year when for several teams it was their first time on the water in a dragon boat.
But then that’s what puts “Community” in the name of the event.
The schedule calls for a meet and greet and practices in the morning followed by the opening ceremonies – the team cheers are great entertainment – at 11 a.m. with racing beginning at noon.
There will also be a salmon barbecue, a food fair and craft exhibitors on site.
Parking is extremely limited at Minette Bay so organizers have laid on a shuttle bus service from Christ the King Church parking lot which will go into service at 8 a.m.
For details on that, check with the Visitor Information Centre when you get to town.