Montana Dragon Boat Festival Postponed

The ninth annual event was originally scheduled for Sept. 12-13

By Maggie Dresser
Competitors race to the finish line during the Montana Dragon Boat Festival in Bigfork Bay in Bigfork on Sept. 7, 2019. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

The Bigfork Area Chamber of Commerce has postponed the ninth annual Montana Dragon Boat Festival, which was originally scheduled for Sept. 12-13 this year.

With social distancing precautions, travel restrictions between the U.S. and Canadian border and the financial strains that many event sponsors are facing, the chamber chose to postpone the festival to next year.

“It became a question of when the border will reopen and if the members of the Elemental crew (a Canadian team) would be comfortable coming down,” Chamber Director Rebekah King said in a press release. “The decision to cancel made itself when the uncertainty of Elemental’s involvement came up. The event relies heavily on their presence and professionalism.”

Chamber members also did not feel comfortable asking local businesses to sponsor the event since the pandemic has posed financial impacts on the local economy.

Organizers and local teams have discussed alternatives to the festival, like virtual races, a one-day practice event or a clinic hosted by the Flathead Dragonflies.

If the border reopens by September, organizers hope to possibly modify a last-minute event with Elemental Dragon Boats. The Flathead Dragonflies will begin practicing soon and invite anyone interested to join. For more information, visit bigfork.org or contact the Dragonflies at [email protected].

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