6th annual Dragon Boat Festival takes place at Springfield Riverfront Park

Hampden County

Saturday was the 6th annual Dragon Boat festival in Springfield. 

Dozens of fans came out to watch the 6th annual Dragon Boat Festival, at North Riverfront Park in Springfield saturday. 

20 Teams from across New England competed for the best average time for the 200 meter sprint, across the Connecticut river . 

Ben Quick, Executive Director for the Pioneer Valley Riverfront Club told 22News how the contest is run, “We have two divisions; there’s club teams and challenge teams. The club teams are teams who compete as dragon boating, as their sport. 

Quick continued to say “Challenge teams are community teams that have put their teams together, had a day of practice and are here for some fun.”

Club Team “Hope in the Boat” from Albany, New York, is a team made up of cancer survivors. Some even competing, while still battling the disease..
Kathrine Zampier, from Hope in a Boat told 22News, this race is just a warm-up,  “We are headed to Florence, Italy, in less than two weeks for the international breast cancer survivor Dragon Boat festival. 
And we are looking forward to that.”

Not only are teams competing for the number one spot, but they’re also competing for the best custom, and for the team that is most in sync, well, they’ll win a prize as well.  

The most in-sync team will win a special BBQ outing hosted by the Springfield Dragon Rays, valued at $1000. But for some, Saturday was about team building.

Ryan Haley, from Baystate Health Dragons told 22News the races resonate in more than one aspect, “It’s not neccessarily about how hard you paddle, but its also about team work and how much you are able to paddle in unison and it’;s something about that resonates with everything else we do in life.”

Pioneer valley Riverfront club, is a nonprofit that promotes river-based sporting activities, to develop river access, and encourage recreation in the Greater Springfield area.

Baystate Healthy Dragons of Springfield won the community challenge division as well as the BBQ outing for being most in-sync.

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