Summer festivals are often dependent on good weather, and the organizers of the Sudbury Dragon Boat Festival admit they were a little concerned after the cold temperatures late last week.
But in the event, Saturday was sunny and warm, bringing big crowds out to Bell Park for this year's edition of the event, which has raised more than $1.5 million for charities in the city.
The event was founded in 2000 by the Chinese Heritage Association of Northern Ontario and the Sudbury Canoe Club.
Steve Lee, co-chair for the Dragon Boat Festival, said the event went off without a hitch.
"This year, of course, everybody worried about the weather,” Lee said Saturday. “But the weather today has been perfect."
About 125 volunteers turn out every year to support the more than 40 dragon boat teams that have been training for weeks for Saturday's event. Lee said the preparation and commitment from the teams paid off.
"The times are really good this year," he said. "It's been unbelievable. Everything is on time, everyone is enjoying it. I did a lot of asking around, and everything is good."
The beneficiary this year is the Northern Cancer Foundation's efforts to raise money to bring the PET Scanner to the city. Teams not only train for the gruelling races, they also collect pledges, which normally raises about $1,000 per team.
"The money is still coming in, but I think we're going to get between $40,000 and $50,000,” Lee said. “That's about what we were hoping for."
While the festival has been around for awhile, Lee said there's still enthusiastic support from the teams, sponsors and residents who come out to watch.
"One of the reasons, I think, is the festival reaches out to the community," he said. "Plus it's a spectator sport, too. You can come and support your team."
For race results and more on the Dragon Boat Festival, go to http://sudburydragonboats.com.