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Barrie Dragon Boat Festival, August 27

Popularity 2Viewed 17524 times 2016-8-30 10:40 |System category:Life

I finally got involved in a Dragon Boat festival.  Ever since I first got on a dragon boat at a company team event back in 2009, I have wanted to join a Dragon Boat team.  Well maybe next year, this year i was as close to the action as you can get with out being a paddler.

I inquired about joining a team or becoming a festival volunteer.  Well the next thing I know I was enrolled to be a Dock Marshal on the day of the festival.   I went to the volunteer orientation meeting complete with a signed waiver and eager to find out what my responsibilities would be.  I would be working in the team loading and unloading area helping to ensure smooth and fast loading and unloading the boats between each  of the 42 races.  With 55 teams competing and 22 athletes per team that was a total of 1210 athletes participating. I was assured that my love of kayaking, canoeing and patient tutoring would make me an ideal  volunteer to work on the docks.

A week later a call came out over email requesting people to volunteer for site crew for the site setup the day before the festival.  Well I figured that by participating in the site setup I would feel more involved and a part of the event, so I signed up.

As part of the site setup crew we were asked to unload tents, tables and chairs from trailers or trucks.   Distribute recycling containers and garbage cans throughout. We erected three kinds of fencing in different portions of the host site to fence in the  docking area, and a beer garden as well as the Dragon Boat Team Village.  The volunteer coordinators made sure we were fed lunch and supplied with sufficient work and water to keep us busy and hydrated.  Work started at 9 am August 26 and we were finished at 4 PM and free to go.

Sign in as Dock Marshals was required for 6:15 AM sharp,  Aug 27

Well as luck would have it, I was given the honour of being one of 8 drummers in the Opening Ceremony " The waking of the Dragon"

I am in the dragon boat on the right in the picture above.  The picture from 2015 shows my part of the opening ceremony, starting from a light taping on the drum, increasing in speed and soundthe tapping became a loud banging on the drum, together with the other seven drummers.

Canada Docks area used for the loading and unloading of the dragon boat teams.  The building in the background with the green roof is the Downtown Barrie Bus terminal

Nine hours later the races were over for another year. Next morning I rode down to the site to get some pictures

All that remains are the fond memories, experiences, new friendships made and old friendships enriched, and the carnations that were thrown into the pond during the Memories Ceremony, to honour children, team mates, friends and relatives or other community members who lost their battle with cancer since the previous races. This tradition started at the Dragon Boat Festival in Vancouver, Canada in 1996 when one of the teams wore a carnation to honour a teammate who had lost their battle with cancer since the previous festival.  The tradition spread and is now performed at Dragon Boat Festivals around the wworld.

Barrie's Beautiful Heritage Park  the host site of the Barrie Dragon Boat Festival.

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Today, while talking to the volunteer coordinator, I was thanked for getting involved. I replied, Emily, thanks to your devotion and professionalism I had a fantastic experience and got at least as much out of the event as the 16 hours effort I contributed. Thank you Emily and the Barrie Library, and others  including dragon boat paddlers, volunteers and sponsors, that contributed to the events success. Looking forward to next year.


(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




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Comment Comment (2 comments)

Reply Report voice_cd 2016-8-31 17:03
thanks for sharing such a good topic, old friend, we have highlighted it.
Reply Report RonJaDa 2016-9-16 01:51
voice_cd: thanks for sharing such a good topic, old friend, we have highlighted it.
Thank You Voice CD

I was in a rush to post I should haave downsized the pictures for easier loading.

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Semi Retired Canadian - enjoying a sabatical from work, traveling, learning Chinese Language and cooking.


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