Conway Dragon Boat Festival planned at Beaverfork Lake

Individuals and teams from Conway and the surrounding region will converge 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 23, at Beaverfork Lake Park for the Second Annual Conway Dragon Boat Festival.

Through a partnership with High Five Dragon Boat, based in Tampa, Fla., the Junior Auxiliary of Conway is continuing its strategic efforts to create and recruit teams to participate in this one-of-a-kind event. “The festival is a large scale effort to raise funds to support the mission of Junior Auxiliary of Conway, which is to render charitable assistance to youth in need in our area,” said Jessica Clawson, chair of the Dragon Boat Festival Committee.

The funds raised will go directly to a new scholarship and mentoring program called “Uplift and Equip.” The program will help young women whose education has been delayed or interrupted due to pregnancy and who strive for success in the face of challenges.

Dragon Boat Racing is great fun for anyone, young or old. This local event will attract primarily co-ed teams from corporations, public service groups, small businesses, high schools, colleges and universities. It is also anticipated that a handful of dragon boat “club” teams will travel to Conway for the weekend to participate from the surrounding states.

There are more than 70 communities that host Dragon Boat Festivals in the U.S. alone, and more than 60 million participants worldwide.

Each team has to provide 20 paddlers; a minimum of eight must be female, and a drummer. On race day, each team will race in three heats on a 350-meter straight course. Team entry fees go toward the benefit of the Junior Auxiliary of Conway. The corporate team fee is $1,250 and a community or non-profit team fee is $900.

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Junior Auxiliary of Conway is the local chapter of the National Association of Junior Auxiliaries. A non-profit organization, JA provides services of a humanitarian nature to children and their families in the Faulkner County region. The organization has been an integral part in founding or supporting programs such as the Faulkner County Day School, Safety Town, and HAVEN (Help for Abuse Victims in Emergency Need).