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L.A. Beat

Signature ATB Rotary Dragon Boat Festival cancelled by Covid but will be back in 2022

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The ATB Rotary Dragon Boat Festival has been cancelled for the second year in a row, but organizers remain optimistic they will celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the signature community event next year, June 24-26, 2022.Dory Rossiter performing at the ATB Rotary Dragon Boat Festival in 2019. Photo by Richard Amery
“It’s very tough because we spend a lot of time planning this festival every year, but we can’t take any risks,” said ATB Rotary Dragon Boat Festival planning committee chair Diane Randell, noting she is excited about planning a signature event for the twentieth anniversary.

 “There is so much preparation that takes place and a lot of logistical issues that have to be taken care of,” she continued.

 The Festival was to take place June  25-27, 2021, but has been postponed to June 24-26, 2022.

“We have teams from B.C. the United States, Saskatchewan and Alberta coming, so there are a lot of travel restrictions,” she said, noting the even attracts between 6,000 and 10,000 people, including close to 2,000 athletes as the event usually draws 65 teams with 30 members each, plus managers and friends and family who come to see them. She estimated the event brings a million dollars into Lethbridge.

“ There are a lot of different logistical issues that need to be taken care of, which are usually in place by March or April,” she said.

She noted teams have been practicing with proper social distancing in the boats with only 20 people in each boat and team members are following health protocols.
“They’re training and people are being very cautious,” she said.

 So she is optimistic about next year.
“There’s a vaccine now, so we’re starting to organize next year’s signature event,” she said, adding it has been challenging for the local Rotary clubs who put on the event.

“It’s had a big impact on the Rotary Clubs. It’s a fundraiser, but the purpose of the event has always been to build community and pull people together,” she said.
“ We will definitely be ready for next year. It will really be a signature event,” she said.

—By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Sunday, 14 March 2021 14:37 )  
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