"Paddles Up" on Lake Minnewanka

3rd Annual Dragon Boat Festival Returns to Banff National Park

BANFF, AB, July 22 /CNW/ - Cheering, chanting and the phrases "paddles up," "take it away" and "hold the boat" will be heard at Lake Minnewanka August 14 and 15 as 600 rowers sprint across the lake at the third annual Banff National Park Dragon Boat Festival.

The centuries-old tradition of dragon boat racing requires teams of up to 20 paddlers to unify their competitive spirits to successfully cross the finish line. This year's non-motorized long-boat canoe races on the largest lake in the Rockies includes heats of 200 and 500 metre sprints.

The Banff National Park Dragon Boat Festival is a favourite attracting teams from Alberta and British Columbia and spectators from around the world. Registration for teams closes August 2 and just a few spots remain.

"Our first Dragon Boat Festival took place in 2008 with 15 boats participating. This year we anticipate all 30 available spots will be sold out" says Stu Back, director of in-resort services. "The festival is an amazing event for racers and spectators alike. We encourage everyone to come out and cheer on the racers in the spectacular setting of Lake Minnewanka."

The dragon boat races run from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday at Lake Minnewanka and following Saturday's race, a cultural performance featuring lion and dragon dancing will take place from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Banff Avenue Square.

Visitors to the Dragon Boat Festival can also enjoy a variety of other activities in Banff National Park including a weekend sidewalk sale by downtown Banff retailers, enjoying a performance at the Banff Centre as part of the Summer Arts Festival, exploring the Grizzly! exhibit at the Whyte Museum and taking in a free variety show by Mountain Wit in Banff Avenue Square.

For full details on The Dragon Boat Festival visit http://www.banfflakelouise.com/events-and-festivals/festivals/dragon-boat-festival

A Heritage Moment

Archaeologists have discovered that people of the First Nations have been visiting Lake Minnewanka for over 10,000 years. These early visitors were attracted by the abundant water supply, a river and lake that supported a huge fish population and nearby mineral licks that attracted large animals.

About Banff Lake Louise Tourism

Banff Lake Louise Tourism is a destination marketing organization for the Town of Banff, Community of Lake Louise and Banff National Park. Supporting over 800 businesses, our mission is to engage visitors in unrivalled, remarkable experiences with our membership. For travel media inquiries, please contact Tulene Steiestol at tulene@banfflakelouise.com or www.banfflakelouise.com.

SOURCE Banff Lake Louise Tourism

For further information: For further information: Tulene Steiestol, Senior Manager, Travel Media Relations, Office: 403-762-0290

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