Support call for East Anglian Dragon Boat Festival
15:16 26 April 2014
Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2012
The organisers of a major charity event, which has raised thousands of pounds for good causes, insisted this week they hoped to run it again next year.
For the past seven summers, the East Anglian Dragon Boat Festival has brought colour, competition and waterborne thrills to Oulton Broad, attracting big crowds to Nicholas Everitt Park.
But organisers have confirmed it will not be taking place in this year.
Over the years, hundreds of paddlers have taken part in the festival by racing brightly-painted 30ft Chinese dragon boats over a 200m course – initially at Whitlingham Broad near Norwich in 2006 before it moved to Oulton Broad the following year.
The event has raised money for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices and St Elizabeth Hospice. But, with fewer teams entering the eighth festival last June, organisers are appealing for more support from local companies and organisations to ensure it returns to the calendar in 2015.
Carol Lester, director of the festival’s organisers, Gable Events, said: “We do need more companies to enter teams to make the event commercially viable.
“The other reason we’ve had to postpone is that we also need a new charity partner for the festival.”
Buoyed by “positive feedback”, since they made their decision to “give it a break” for this year, she said the organisers had been in talks to generate extra interest in the event.
“We are speaking to a local charity, which is keen to partner the event in 2015, and hopefully this will see it back on the calendar next year,” she said. “We hope everyone will get behind the event as we do need public support, and we also we need companies from across the region to enter teams.
“When we first held the festival in 2006, we filled up with 52 teams and it outgrew Whitlingham Broad, so we moved to Oulton Broad to cater for more.
“Waveney District Council was very accommodating and in the first few years we had large entry, but more recently we’ve had 25 to 28 teams and commercially it’s been not as good.”
Over the years, the festival has also offered a full day of entertainment on land, with activities in the park for teams and spectators between races.
■If you are interested in entering or supporting the East Anglian Dragon Boat Festival in 2015, email firstname.lastname@example.org