Dear Editor,

The Sparta Education Foundation’s Fourth Annual Dragon Boat Festival drew thousands to the Lake Mohawk Boardwalk on Sunday, May 20.  From the sponsors, participants and schools to the many volunteers and cheering spectators, the Dragon Boat Festival was a true reflection of Sparta Pride.

Congratulations to the Dragon Boat Festival’s top three teams: First Place Gold Medals went to SA American Muscle. Silver Medal awards were given to RDA Fitness and Bronze Medals went to RedShed CrossFit. Divisional Awards included Fastest Real Estate Company: Weichert, Realtors Sparta; Fastest School: Dragon R Boat; Fastest Beach: OARganized Chaos; Fastest Business: Alpha Fitness; 17th Place: Oar Else; Anchor Award: Techflex Titans; Best Costume: That’s How We Row and Best Spirit: Inspirational Life.

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Crowds along the boardwalk enjoyed a prime view of the Dragon Boat races as well as access to food, music and a raffle for a paddle board donated by Pelican Shops won by  Dan Johnson  and a Coolest Cooler donated by the Lynam family and won by Rita-Ann Schmick.

The success of the Dragon Boat Festival is based on the generosity of our sponsors. We are grateful to our Platinum Sponsor Newton Medical Center/Atlantic Health System.  This year’s Gold Sponsors were Fogarty & Hara Counsellors at Law and Highlands State Bank. The Leaderboard Sponsor was Wellness Pediatrics. Silver Sponsors were Amp the Vibe, George Morville of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., Nisivoccia LLP Certified Public Accountants and Advisors, and Brown & Brown Benefit Advisors. In-Kind Sponsors included Lake Mohawk Country Club, Lake Mohawk Pool, Pelican Shops and Villa Capri II.

On behalf of the Sparta Education Foundation, I’d like to thank our many Dragon Boat Festival volunteers, the entire Lake Mohawk Country Club staff, the Lake Mohawk Board, the Lake Mohawk Papoose, Rich Carlson and the Lake Mohawk lifeguards and marine patrol, Sparta Township and Sparta Police Department for their continued support of our events, Captain John McChesney and the Sparta Ambulance Squad, Sparta School District Administration, all the school staff members with boats on the water, our DJ Erik Hein, participants, team captains, spectators and the outstanding staff of Dynamic Boat Racing. Each and every one of you has helped us raise funds to ensure future educational grants and programs for Sparta’s public school students. 

Funds from the Dragon Boat Festival will enable the Sparta Education Foundation to continue funding educational grants to all five of Sparta’s public schools. We have funded over $898,000 in grants to all five of Sparta’s public schools since 2006. The Foundation is an all-volunteer, independent 501 (c)(3) NJ nonprofit corporation whose mission is to engage the entire community in philanthropic giving that strengthens the public schools, supports teachers, and inspires students. For more information, visit

Paddles up, and we will see you all in 2019!


Nancy Purnell and Andy Garger

Sparta Education Foundation Dragon Boat Festival Co-Chairs