Since their arrival in 2007, two dragon boats at Lake Milo have been both a curiosity and a whole lot of fun for those who’ve paddled in them.
The dragon boat experience is open to everyone at no charge, every Tuesday and Thursday at 6 p.m. this summer.
“Generally on nice, calm nights we can generally fill the two boats with almost 40 people,” says Brittany Surette, the Lake Milo canoe and kayak coach.
“It’s good for us here because parents will often bring their kids, which sometimes gets them interested in our programs.”
Businesses and organizations rent the boats out as well for $50 an hour at other times.
A Dragon Boat Festival will be held on Sunday, July 29 at Lake Milo. Volunteers will be sought from those who attend to row the boats for races. A free barbecue will also be held.
A team is also being sent to Lake Banook in Dartmouth on July 14 to represent Yarmouth at the Manulife Dragon Boat Festival to benefit the Nova Scotia Amateur Sport Fund.
“We’ve got 21 of us now starting to train and fundraise for that,” said Surette.
Dragon boat racing has its roots in an ancient folk ritual, which villagers have held over the past 2000 years throughout southern China.
While competition has taken place annually for more than 20 centuries as part of religious ceremonies and folk customs, dragon boat racing has emerged in modern times as an international sport, beginning in Hong Kong in 1976.