AMHERST – Race day isn’t until May, but there’s money to be made now.
“Coffee houses are one of our main fundraisers,” said Grade 12 student and ARHS dragon boat racer Lauren Murray.
Murray’s older brother was involved with dragon boat racing when he attended high school in Sackville, N.B.
“I started it (here) when I was in Grade 10,” said the young woman.
Dragon boating is a sport that pits large crews of paddlers in oversized canoes against each other. An annual event sees crews from Amherst and Sackville travel to Moncton to compete against schools in that city.
It’s all for a good cause. Competing is free for the students, but they have a fundraising goal. Last year they raised more than $2,000. Sixty-per cent of the funds go to the Lions to support their sick children fund, while 40-per cent is the team’s choice. Autumn House was the recipient last year and will be again this year.
An evening of acoustic entertainment and refreshments is being held April 10 in the atrium of Amherst Regional High School. Students and staff will be performing. The event starts at 6 p.m. and finishes at 8, and costs $5, which includes snacks and beverages.
A coffee house event was also held in November, and there may be an opportunity to hold a third event this school year in May.
Amherst is fielding two crews this year, said the organizer, with more than 20 team members per boat. It’s a coed competition, although “ours is mostly girls.”
“It’s really fun,” she said.
Dragon boat racing is a sport that welcomes people who may not have experienced being on a team in the past.
“There isn’t too much technique …anybody can do it.”
Boats are supplied by the dragon boat festival organizers. Crews get one practice run in the week leading up to race day. The Greater Moncton Dragon Boat Festival is held May 24 and 25.