Lewes Dragon Boat Festival Makes a Splash in Sussex County
36 teams of 24 people raced for a good cause.
On Sunday, Sept. 18, the fourth annual Lewes Dragon Boat Festival was held at the Canalfront Park in downtown Lewes, Del. The event started as a fundraiser to include the entire community, no matter what fitness level or age, and it has done just that.
“It’s something that could bring together companies, friends and large groups of people,” Krista Griffin, event chair, says.
The fundraiser, held in Lewes, was created to support the capital campaign for the Sussex Academy, a public charter school that currently serves students in grades 6 through 12 in Sussex County. The festival’s proceeds go directly to help pay for the campus and buildings of the academy, in addition to benefiting other local businesses in the area.
“I chose Lewes because I felt it was a great place, so not only does it go towards the school but it also benefits the local fire department, little league, the docks, local vendors, the restaurants get traffic for four days…” Griffin says.
The Sunday morning event kicked off with an opening ceremony followed by the first race at 9 a.m. The event includes two boat heats, combines times of the first rounds and the top 12 boats advance to the semi-finals.
Jack Lingo Realtor’s team ‘Insync’ placed first with a final time of 59.259 seconds on the 200 meter race. Freudian Ships came in second place, followed by defending champions, Griffin and Robertson Blazing Paddles, in third.
“When it’s the final race, it has been a safe day, everyone has had fun, it has all run smoothly and I get to watch the final race, and seeing the paddlers so into it, they want to win it… that’s my favorite part.”
Griffin isn’t the only one passionate about the races. Emily Demarco, director of marketing for Schell Brothers, says it’s an event Schell Brothers wouldn’t miss.
“We’ve been partnering with our local community and Sussex Academy is a big part of that and we thought it was a great cause for our community,” Demarco says. “Chris Schell’s kids go there, other employees have kids there, it’s a special school and great for our community… It just seemed like a win-win for us.”
According to Griffin, this years event raised nearly $50,000. Kick n’ Chicken, Pat’s Pizzeria, Jimmy’s Grille, Nage Restaurant and Arena’s Deli were among the many vendors present at Sunday’s event. Friends of Canal Front Park were responsible for selling the wine, beer and soda for event.
To learn more about the annual event, visit www.lewesdragonboat.com.