SPARTA, NJ – It was a beautiful day on Lake Mohawk where dragons and a couple of sasquatches were seen on Sunday for the annual Sparta Education Foundation Dragon Boat Festival. Twenty six teams competed this year for bragging rights and medals. 

The team SA American Muscle edged out RDA Fitness in a photo finish in the last race of the day. SA American Muscle retained the title with a time of 1:05.383. 

RDA Fitness finished second as they have for the past two years. Their time was 1:06.307.  They have been competitive for al five years with a third place finish in 2016 and a six place in 2015. 

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Crossfit Skylands took third this year, improving on their fifth place finish in 2018.  Their time was 1:08.865.

“It’s just a thrill to be at the Dragon Boat Festival, whether you are one of the paddlers on a team or cheering on the racers,” Sparta Education Foundation President Donna West said.  “We are incredibly grateful to have so many people supporting our students, which enables us to fund future educational grants for our public schools.”

Assistant Superintendent Patrick McQueeney began the festivities reading the legend of the Dragon Boats and painting the ceremonial red eye on the dragon head.

The National Anthem was sung by 12-year-old Sparta student Natalie Torres.

Each of the teams raced twice, with 20 rowing and one drummer per boat.  Beast Mod Babes??? was the only all female boat.  Sparta Middle School had a boat and Sparta High School alumni were back this year in camouflage. 

Ceremonial paddles were given to the nine teams that have competed each of the five years of the event:

  • Cast and More’s Dragons,
  • Savage Dragons,
  • Team Spartacular for Isak,
  • Inspirational Life,
  • Dragon R Boat,
  • SA American Muscle,
  • RDA Fitness,
  • Oar Else,
  • Weichert Warriors.

The event raises funds for the Sparta Educational Foundation which has given more than $1,026,600 in grants to all five schools.  Their grant initiated the successful robotics program at Sparta High School, #D Google Expeditions Virtual Reality Kits for Helen Morgan, electric string instruments for the Sparta Middle School orchestra program, a ukulele program at Mohawk Avenue School and many others.

"The success of the Dragon Boat Festival is based on the generosity of our sponsors," West said.

The sponsors:

  • Platinum Sponsor Atlantic Health Systems/Newton Medical Center.
  • Gold Sponsors Fogarty and Hara Counselors at Law, Lake Mohawk Country Club
  • Leaderboard Sponsor Wellness Pediatrics
  • Silver Sponsors Villa Capri II, Pelican Shops, Gallagher Insurance, Risk Management and Consulting, NIxivoccia LLP Certified Public Accountants and Advisors and Lakeland Bank.

The organization is completely comprised of volunteers with all money raised going back to the public schools.  The Sparta Education Foundation has been supporting Sparta’s students since 2006 and is a 501 (c) (3) New Jersey non profit organization.