October 25, 2002

Dragon Boat racing made a big splash on the South Niagara Course on Saturday August 31st.  "We estimate that 800 or 900 people took part as competitors and spectators throughout the day," Brian York of Venture Niagara, said.

Twenty-four teams, including 10 Welland area crews, paddled hard in many levels of festival competition.  Local community teams included Canadian Tire Financial Services Dragon Butz, Lewis and Krall Ramblers, Peninsula Youth Centre Pirates, Convergys Converging Paddles, Dragon R Tails, Welland Rotary/Port Colborne Community Living, Welland Multicultural Centre, Samurais, John Deere Power Pullers and Welland Komodo Dragons.

Peninsula Youth Centre Pirates won the championship round.  The consolation round was won by the Welland Rotary/Port Colborne Community Living Crew.  "For many of the paddlers, the Dragon Boat Race was a first-time experience and they looked great," Damian Coulbourne, President of the Welland-Pelham Chamber of Commerce, said.

A featured division of the festival was the Premier Women's National Team Trials.  Crews from Vancouver's False Creek Canoe Club, the Montreal Dragon Boat Club and the Greater Toronto Dragon Boat Club fought hard to earn a spot at the World Championships in Shanghai, China.  The Toronto team edged out Vancouver in the most intense and emotional race of the day.

Partnering organizations in the Dragon Boat Festival included Venture Niagara, Welland/Pelham Chamber of Commerce, Welland Heritage Council and Multicultural Centre, United Way of South Niagara and Great White North Communications Inc.  Proceeds from the event will go to the Welland Medical Recruitment Partnership and the organizing partners.

"With the success of this event, we are certain to have another festival next year," Frank Rupcic, of Venture Niagara, said.  "We'd like to extend a special thanks to the South Niagara Rowing Club for the use of the course, the City of Welland parks' staff and the residents of Dain City for their patience and interest in the events of the day."

For more information and race results please visit