Your Town Minocqua: Dragon Boat Festival prepares to raise funds for Howard Young Foundation

MINOCQUA, Wis. (WSAW) -- The water on Lake Minocqua sits undisturbed for now. But in August, it will play host..to dozens of dragon boats as part of the 3rd annual Minocqua Dragon Boat Festival.

"It's almost addicting. It is so much fun," dragon boat racer Nancy Brunsch said. "You get in the boat and you're on the water. Which I love. Then you're with other teammates. It's a team sport and it's great fun. I love it."

With the head and the tail on, these 45 foot long boats can reach speeds of 8 miles per hour. The 2000 year old sport was born out of political dissent in China, but has found popularity in the United States, especially here in Wisconsin.

"Wisconsin is the hot state right now, it's the hot state for dragon boat racing. Kind of the word is spreading and it's going to become a real popular sport," Dragon Boat Festival Committee Member Mike Mondrall said.

Word has even spread across the border into Canada, with teams coming down to the area last year to race. But you don't need to be an experienced racer to enjoy the event.

"We have the club group, which are teams that really train all summer, and then we have the community group," Dragon Boat Festival Committee Member Gami Miller said. "Which are for people who have maybe never been in a dragon boat before. You do not need any experience to be a part of the Dragon Boat Festival. We provide the boat. We provide the paddles. We provide the PFD's, and we also provide the steerperson."

All in an effort to raise money for the Howard Young Foundation, and help them help others in the Greater Minocqua Area.

"We help provide LUCAS compression systems for our area ambulances. We have our STAR Academy which will be focusing on the needs of our autism students. We will help with that, and also we have our 'We're Ticked Off Campaign," Miller said.

The Minocqua Dragon Boat Festival will be held August 18.