Published by The Post Journal 8/7/2016– Chautauqua Lake had a bit of a dragon infestation on Saturday, but not the dangerous kind.
Beginning at 7 a.m. with registration and races beginning at 9 a.m., the lake became a racing strip for boats outfitted like dragons for the 2016 Chautauqua Lake Dragon Boat Race and Festival.
While spectators and racing teams lined the shore, long and thin boats painted with scales and fitted with oars sped toward the finish line.
Julie Conklin, Greater Chautauqua Federal Credit Union team member, said racing the boats is highly invigorating. “It was super exciting. I was the drummer, and I got to lead the team with the drum,” Conklin said. “We took first place in our first race. It’s really exciting to get out there on the water.”
She said the races began around every 15 minutes. “Once you get a rhythm going, the boat just glides across the water,” Conklin said. Overall, the event appeared to be a great success, she said. “It brought a lot of businesses together, and it brought the community together,” Conklin said. “It also helped to raise money for the Chautauqua Lake Association.”
She said Greater Chautauqua Federal Credit Union also organized the rubber ducky race held at 4 p.m. “We’re hoping to have 2,500 ducks out there today,” she said. The rubber ducky race also benefited the Lakers Sled Hockey team in addition to the Chautauqua Lake Association. Conklin said each team should have raced three times, and the top qualifiers were able to compete in the finals match.
Ashore in the Lucille Ball Memorial Park, vendors lined the walkways with a variety of goods and more for visitors and spectators to enjoy. Dragon boat racing originated in China, but has since become very popular across the globe. According to chqdragonrace.org, the traditional boats were generally made in the Pearl River Delta region of Guangdong Providence. Often, the boats were created out of teak wood, while others have been made out of different woods.
Event sponsors include the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation; Greater Chautauqua FCU; Chautauqua Council 202 UCT; Zippo Manufacturing Co.; Hartley Buick GMC; Real Estate Advantage; County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency; Wegmans Food Markets; The Resource Center – New Visions Services Inc.; Chautauqua Lake Twin Tier Chapter of ACBS; Jamestown Mattress Co. Inc.; and TRI James Services Inc. For more information, visit chqdragonrace.org.