Published in The Post Journal 7/29/2016– There are at least two reasons why people should visit McCrea Point Park next month.
One reason is the practice for the 2016 Chautauqua Lake Dragon Boat Race & Festival that is scheduled to take place Thursday from 4-8 p.m. The second reasons is to see the new upgrades to the park like the newly paved parking lot and walking path.
Bill Stevenson, 2016 Chautauqua Lake Dragon Boat Race & Festival Committee, said the public is welcome to attend the practice to see the dragon boat teams in the Chadakoin River. Heather Nolan, Chautauqua Lake Association finance and community relations manager, said the first opportunity to register for the event will also take place during the practice.
”It is going to be pretty exciting,” Stevenson said. ”The Jamestown Riverfront Management Council has invited them (to McCrea Point Park) so the teams can practice. It will also be a great time for people to check out the park for the new amenities that have been added. Right now, the (city) is paving the parking lot. They’ve already paved the walking path.”
As part of Phase VI of the Greater Jamestown Riverwalk, McCrea Point Park has been upgraded the past three summers. In 2014, a new playground was installed at the park. Last summer, a new dock and a 1,300-square-foot concrete pad along the water at the northeast edge of the park were installed. New park amenities like picnic tables, park benches, trash cans, charcoal grills and dog stations were also added in 2015.
Stevenson said there are 24 teams registered, with 12 people per dragon boat. Originating in China 2,000 years ago, dragon boat racing is one of the fastest growing water sports in the world, with races being held annually in Buffalo and the Finger Lakes region. Dragon boat racing is team-driven as participants work in unison to propel a 31-foot-long canoe through a designated course. Of the 12 members comprising a team, 10 peddlers power the boat while a steersperson in the stern guides the ship. A drummer located in the bow motivates the paddlers and keeps them in sync.
Proceeds from the first dragon boat race on Chautauqua Lake will go toward the Chautauqua Lake Association.