Dragon boat races at Lake Meridian are no longer part of Kent Cornucopia Days due to a lack of volunteers and to put on the event. COURTESY FILE PHOTO, Tacoma Dragon Boat Association

Dragon boat races at Lake Meridian are no longer part of Kent Cornucopia Days due to a lack of volunteers and to put on the event. COURTESY FILE PHOTO, Tacoma Dragon Boat Association

Dragon boat races no longer part of Kent Cornucopia Days

Lack of volunteers, resources leads to dropping of event first featured in 2001

Dragon boat races at Lake Meridian won’t be part of the annual Kent Cornucopia Days this weekend for the first time in more than 20 years.

A lack of volunteers and resources to run the dragon races led to the end of the event, put on by the Kent Dragon Boat Association.

“Due to low membership numbers since COVID-19, Kent Dragon Boat Association unfortunately hasn’t had the capacity nor resources to provide the volunteer hours requested of us for this race,” said Nadine Rosendin, president of the Kent Dragon Boat Association Board of Directors, in a July 8 email.

Rosendin said the association informed the Kent Lions Club, which presents Kent Cornucopia Days, in October that it wouldn’t be able to supply the volunteers needed for the event.

“After careful thought and consideration, the Kent Lions Club has decided to suspend the Kent Cornucopia Days dragon boat race indefinitely,” according to a January statement on the Kent Cornucopia Dragon Boat Races Facebook page. “We have enjoyed this race for many years on Lake Meridian, but several factors, including a struggle for volunteers and rising costs, have led to this decision.”

Randi Shartin, Kent Cornucopia Days director for the Kent Lions Club, confirmed in an email that the Kent Dragon Boat Association decided not to host the races this year during the July 12-14 festival.

“We will have a meeting with them in the fall to discuss next year’s plans,” Shartin said.

Dragon boat races became part of Kent Cornucopia Days in 2001, according to a timeline supplied by the Kent Lions Club in its festival guide.

“We are all hopeful to see a dragon boat race return to Lake Meridian in the future,” Rosendin said. “Like many other dragon boat races in the surrounding region, with the ebb and flow of club memberships and interest in dragon boat racing, travel costs to/from other states and Canada, and things like police and fire support, clubs/races often have to take a break and regroup to make these races successful.”

The Kent Dragon Boat Association still competes in races, including an event Saturday, July 13 in Olympia.

Rosendin said anyone ages 15 and up is welcome to learn to paddle and no experience or equipment is necessary. If interested, email kdbaboard@gmail.com.

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