Approximately 1,000 racers from Vancouver Island and beyond are set to arrive in B.C.’s capital for the Victoria Dragon Boat Festival this weekend.
The free festival takes place on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 12 and 13, in Victoria’s Inner Harbour with preparations beginning Friday.
The city notes that the parking lots at 814 and 900 Wharf St. will be closed starting Friday until 4 p.m. Monday, Aug. 14.
The festival begins on Saturday with qualifying races, which will place teams into their respective medal rounds on Sunday afternoon.
Racers are coming to Victoria from across the Island, as well as Vancouver and parts of the U.S.
The race course spans 470 metres, beginning at Laurel Point and ending at Ship’s Point in the Inner Harbour.
The Victoria Dragon Boat Festival is the only dragon boat event in Canada to take place in a working harbour, according to organizers, letting spectators come to a convenient and bustling location to watch the races.
Besides the races, spectators can also expect live music from local bands, lion dance performances on Saturday and Sunday, and a cultural tent that provides information to visitors.
For the first time, an Indigenous artist has also been commissioned to create the design of the festival’s new medal.
The design, created by shíshálh Nation artist Margaret August, will also be on display at the festival’s entry gates and around the site.
Cancer research fundraiser
The festival is also hosting a “Lights of Courage” fundraiser for the BC Cancer Foundation.
Visitors can purchase a lantern to hang at the festival, with proceeds going to the foundation’s work in Victoria.
This is the first year that the Victoria Dragon Boat Festival is taking place for an entire weekend since 2019.
The festival first launched more than 25 years ago in 1997.
“We would like to express our sincere appreciation to all the volunteers and participants for all the hard work that goes into producing this vibrant event and to say ‘thank you’ to our communities and visitors who have included the Canada Dry Victoria Dragon Boat Festival in their summer plans,” said Doug Yuen, president of Fairway Markets, in a release Wednesday.