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Dragon boat teams sought

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The International Boundary Waters Dragon Boat Foundation will launch dragon boat teams from both sides of the border to race on the Rainy River for its seventh-annual International Boundary Waters Dragon Boat Festival on Saturday, June 30.

The event also will feature the return of the International Tug-of-War, presented by the Backus Community Center in International Falls.

The festival once again will kick off with the “Awakening of the Dragons” ceremony before teams of 16-20 paddlers, a steers, and a drummer begin racing along the 300-metre course on the upper Rainy River.

Teams are encouraged to collect pledges and raise money at their team tents, as all activities held at the venue on the day of the festival will be geared towards raising money for breast cancer research and the Backus Community Center.

Following the qualifying heats of the dragon boat races, the annual “Flower Ceremony” will be held to honour all cancer survivors, caregivers, and those who have passed.

Survivors are welcome to contact the IBWDB Foundation at dragonboatff@gmail.com if they would like to paddle in the boats on the water for the ceremony.

Flowers also will be available for purchase on the day of the festival for all who wish to participate from the shores.

All money raised through the “Flower Ceremony” will be donated to each countries' respective breast cancer society.

The festival also will feature an event this year that will see the Backus Community Center string a 1,200-foot rope across the river as they bring back the International Tug-of-War.

Community members can join Team USA or Team Canada at www.internationaltugofwar.org to fill out the registration form online, or print the form to be completed and returned to the Backus Community Center.

For more information, contact Robin Bjorkquist at 1-218-373-3004.

You can register your dragon boat team at www.boundarywatersdragonboat.com

More information regarding team registration, sponsorship opportunities, and how you can advertise or put a special message to teams in the race day brochure also is available on the IBWDB Foundation's website or by contacting Annely Armstrong-Thorstad at 1-218-324-3180.

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