Northwoods Adventure: Lake Bemidji Dragon Boat Festival
For 13 years, the first weekend in August has been reserved for the Lake Bemidji Dragon Boat Festival. This year, 48 teams competed on race day, igniting a special spirit of competition.
With the festival put on by the Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club, the purpose of the event is to bring a community together and draw teams and spectators from all over.
In 12 years of having the festival, it has never been canceled, and organizers were not going to let the 13th year of the event be unlucky.
At one point, the wind and waves became too much for the dragon boats, and one of them capsized, leaving the team to walk their dragon boat all the way to the shore. But this unfortunate incident wasn’t enough to make the team give up.
With the conditions on the lake questionable, officials scaled teams down to 16 and removed the dragon heads and tails from the boats. This allowed to the boats to handle the conditions and the festival to continue with its full race day schedule, which was another for the history books.