Saturday, February 27, 2021

2020 Dragon Boat Festival cancelled

The 2020 Sydenham Challenge Dragon Boat Festival has officially been cancelled.

After postponing the June 3 festival to October 6, 2020, the committee announced “with great regret” on Wednesday, that year’s event will not take place.

The group also announced a new date for next year – June 5, 2021.

“(Our) number one priority is providing a safe venue for everyone, obviously, this wasn’t to be in the cards this year,” the organizers said on social media.

“Early this summer we met and developed a five stage plan that also incorporated the Provincial and Municipal COVID guidelines to ensure the safety of all. We came close, but could only meet four of the stages.”

The group also thanked their sponsors, volunteers, teams and supporters.

“The Raging Dragons for their input and guidance, the Breast Buddies, the Royal Canadian Legion and anyone else we missed, we love (you) all and look forward to the incredible family of Dragon Boaters next spring.”

The annual festival was originally started in 2001 as a fall festival, but was postponed out of respect for the victims, families, and first responders in the 911 terrorist attack in New York City.

The event was rescheduled for the spring 2002 and celebrated its 18th year in 2019.

The festival is a fundraiser for both the Chatham-Kent United Way, the Breast Buddies Dragon Boat racing team and the Canadian Breast Cancer Society.

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