SPARTA, NJ – Paddlers get ready. Registration is now open for the Sparta Education Foundation’s Dragon Boat races. The fundraiser was very popular in its inaugural year and it is likely to be just as popular this year. With only 50 slots available, teams are encouraged to register and get their deposit money in soon, “so they don’t miss the boat.”
The Dragon Boat Festival will be on Sunday, May 15. Once again the festival coincides with the Lake Mohawk Country Club’s annual Tasting on the Boardwalk. It is also on the same week end as the Junior Women’s Club of Sparta’s Sparta Day event scheduled for Saturday, May 14 at Station Park.
“The overwhelming success of last year’s well-attended Dragon Boat Festival along Lake Mohawk--from hundreds of cheering spectators lining the boardwalk to the enthusiastic paddlers in colorful team costumes—makes this event something truly special for the whole community,” said Dorothy LaBeau, President of the Sparta Education Foundation.
Each 46 foot boat holds 21 participants. The education foundations reminds the community that this is “a perfect team-building activity for friends, co-workers, neighbors, church members, sports teams or any group.” No experience is necessary to participate.
The teams have 20 paddlers and a drummer to keep the paddles synchronized. They must have at least eight females and can have no more than 10 participants between the ages of 15-17. The Dragon Boat Festival director provides a steersman and on-water practice sessions with coaches before the day of the race.
The race will consist of at least two heats for each team. There will be prizes and bragging rights for the winners though “the real winners will be Sparta’s students,” says a foundation representative.
LaBeau said, “Teams are already signing up, so I encourage people to register online now so they can enjoy the spirited and memorable experience they are sure to have at the Dragon Boat Festival. In addition to being a fun-filled day on the lake, this fundraiser benefits Sparta’s public schools with meaningful programs and equipment to enhance the classroom experience for all of our students. ”
The unique event serves as a major fundraiser for the Sparta Education Foundation. The non-profit organization is completely run by volunteers. Their mission is to “engage the community in philanthropic giving that strengthens the public schools, supports teachers and inspires students.”