All set for Dragon Boat race challenge
THERE’S just over a month until the 2012 Dragon Boat Festival, raising money for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices. And this year there are a few changes and some new teams taking part, as John Baker discovered.
T’S one of the biggest annual fundraisers in the city.
And while the boats have shrunk, the organisers of this year’s Peterborough Dragon Boat Festival hope that the number of entries won’t.
Gable Events are reporting an influx of new teams signing up to take part in the much anticipated annual event in aid of East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH).
The festival takes place on Saturday, June 16 on the River Nene at The Embankment by the Key Theatre in Peterborough.
Among the new teams signed up so far are Dalrod, Emerald House Associates, Enterprise Peterborough, Gambro, Lamb Weston UK Ltd, two teams from Agreserves Ltd and – after opening their new restaurant in Cathedral Square – Nando’s.
The festival is supported by The Evening Telegraph, Heart FM and Peterborough City Council.
New for 2012, Gable Events will be using their 30ft dragon boats instead of the usual 40ft boats, which means a reduction in the size of the teams from 17 to 11 people.
They have also discounted the entry fees to make it easier and more affordable to enter. Director Carol Lester believes these changes have been a major factor in many new companies signing up to take part.
She said: “The feedback from previous crews was that they were having a fantastic time at the festival and that it represented great value for money but that it would be easier to form teams if fewer people were required. “We wanted to attract the smaller companies and organisations in Greater Peterborough who hadn’t been able to be part of the event before, and introducing the smaller boats has certainly helped. “We have also made it
easier for larger companies to enter more than one team by discounting the entry fees and reducing the entry fee for a second team”.
Over 30 teams made up of local companies, organisations and groups of friends are expected to battle it out in the ornate dragon boats, and as usual qualified helmsmen and racing equipment are provided, with each crew guaranteed a minimum of three races.
Nandos manager David Feehan, said: “The Dragon Boat Festival ticks a lot of boxes for us, offering a fun team-building day out while raising our profile within the city and providing a great marketing opportunity.
“Since the new restaurant opened last August we have been so busy that opportunities for team-building have been slim, so hopefully the staff will benefit from that side of things at the same time as networking at such a well-known and large local community event.”
Nando’s are using their participation in the event as a staff incentive and have come up with a great way to decide who gets to be part of the team on the day.
“In our store we have divided our staff into five teams of six in an ongoing super league, collecting points daily from their managers based on customer service and food quality. “The winning team for the month of May will take part in the race along with one member of
each of the other four teams selected by the managers based on work performance,” said David.
Exciting, colourful and great fun, no previous experience is required to take part in the dragon boat racing, just plenty of team spirit.
Trophies are up for grabs, not only for the top three crews and the fastest mixed crew but also the best-dressed and the crew that raises the most money for EACH (who will also win a meal courtesy of The Grain Barge Floating Peking Restaurant).
It all means there really is something for every team to aim for.
The festival offers a great day out for the teams, their families and supporters, with plenty of bankside activities and entertainment including funfair, children’s activities, Chinese lion dance, food stalls and bar.
FUN FOR YOUNG AND OLD: 13-year-old Sam Barlow represented City Skillers from Peterborough Regional College in 2008.
OARSOME: Dragon boat racing on the River Nene