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Denver7 Gives: Viewers donate $1,500 to Colorado Dragon Boat Festival for new boat after lightning strike

Volunteers flew to Iowa to pick up new boats
dragon boat damaged by lightning.jpeg
Posted at 4:41 PM, Jul 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-21 19:37:41-04

DENVER — In 2020, COVID-19 sunk the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival. In 2021, blue-green algae in the lake forced organizers to bail on the celebration. This summer, a lightning strike threatened to tank the festival for a third straight year.

But organizers weren’t about to let that happen, and neither were Denver7 viewers.

“There was a lightning storm. Luckily, nobody was hurt,” said Lorraine Eloriaga, race director for the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival

No one was hurt, but one of their primary boats was dead in the water.

“One of our beautiful flag-catching boats actually got struck by lightning on the back,” said Sara Moore, director of the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival.

“He’s afloat right now, but the back end has a massive hole in it,” Eloriaga said.

Of course, as you can imagine, this group was not about to throw in the towel. Practices for the competition pressed forward, and so did work to find a new boat.

“We were able to work with a club down in Iowa and secure two new boats for about $10,000,” Moore said. “We had amazing volunteers fly over to Iowa and then drive these boats back.”

With the festival this weekend, there is renewed hope for an epic celebration of Asian culture.

“We have 38 teams competing over the two days,” Eloriaga said.

“Two Taste of Asia food courts, we have three stages with local performances. There’s something for everybody. The whole family is invited,” Moore said.

Of course, those new boats did cost the group thousands, a big expense for a small nonprofit.

“It is a very shoe-string budget,” Moore said. “We’re a grassroots festival, but that’s kind of what makes us who we are. The community really does come together. But when it comes to nonprofits, we definitely have tighter budgets than most.”

That’s where generous Denver7 viewers came in.

“Sara and Lorraine, we realize you’re a budget-minded organization. Many nonprofits are,” said Denver7’s Russell Haythorn. “And so, on behalf of Denver7 Gives and our very generous viewers, we’d like to present you with this check for $1,500.”

“Oh my gosh,” Moore said. “Thank you so much. That is going to help us so much to subsidize the boats that we just purchased. We would not be here without the community that we have here in Colorado."


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