Dear Editor,

The Sparta Education Foundation’s Third Annual Dragon Boat Festival drew thousands to the Lake Mohawk Boardwalk on Sunday, May 21.  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 Medal went to RedShed CrossFit. Silver Medal awards were given to RDA Fitness, and Bronze Medals went to SSA-American Muscle.  This exciting event was a fundraiser for Sparta’s public schools.

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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 kayak donated by Pelican Sport Center which was won by Gail Dooling of Sparta. The event kicked off with an early celebration at the Lake Mohawk Tiki Bar on Thursday night.

For the second year in a row, we are grateful to our Major Sponsor Newton Medical Center/Atlantic Health System for their overwhelming support. We also thank our Friends of the Festival sponsors Fogarty & Hara Counsellors at Law, Northern Pride Web Design and Lake Mohawk Country Club. Thanks also go to our in-kind sponsors Brown & Brown Benefit Advisors; George Morville at Arthur J. Gallagher & Company; Nisivoccia, LLP, Certified Public Accountants and Advisors; Villa Capri II Restaurant and Lake Mohawk Pool.

On behalf of the Sparta Education Foundation, we want to thank our many Dragon Boat Festival volunteers; Lake Mohawk General Manager Barbara Wortmann, Lake Mohawk Boardwalk Club Restaurant Manager/Catering Sales Manager Blake Hargrave and 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 Brad Erickson and the Sparta Ambulance Squad; Sparta School District Administration; all the staff from the five schools that had boats on the water; our own SEF trustee Erik Hein for his outstanding DJ skills; the Bayha family for allowing us to use their dock; participants; team captains; spectators; and the terrific 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. 

This successful event was made possible with the support of so many in our community. 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 $782,000 in grants to all five of Sparta’s public schools since 2006. The Foundation is an independent, non-profit, all-volunteer organization whose mission is to engage the entire community in philanthropic giving that strengthens the public schools, supports teachers, and inspires students. For more information about the Foundation, visit

Paddles up, and we will see you all in 2018!


Doug Layman and Nancy Purnell

Sparta Education Foundation Dragon Boat Festival Co-Chairs