Here there be dragons!
The waters of Cowichan Bay will be full of dragon boats this Saturday for the first-ever Oceanfront Suites Dragon Boat Festival.
Nearly 500 paddlers on 20 different teams from across Vancouver Island — Port McNeill to Victoria — will take to the bay off of Kil-pah-las Beach throughout the day. Among the entries will be the six teams based on Cowichan Bay.
“It has been my dream since 2009 to have a festival on the bay, and it is finally coming to fruition,” festival spokesperson Mandy Richards said.
Races will feature three boats at a time, paddling fiercely down the 500m course
The event will begin with a blessing by First Nations elders at 8:30 am., with races starting at 9 a.m. Finals will take place around 3:30 p.m., followed by medal presentations at 4 p.m.
A beer garden will run from noon to 5 p.m. at the Oceanfront Suites. The races will be visible from the beach and from points throughout the village.
To alleviate parking concerns in Cowichan Bay village, a free shuttle bus will run from Bench Elementary School to the race site throughout the day.