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Lightning knocks out one of Colorado Dragon Boat Festival's main vessels

Organizers scrambling to find a replacement boat in time for festival now just 2 weeks away
dragon boat damaged by lightning.jpeg
Posted at 4:58 PM, Jul 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-06 21:21:31-04

DENVER — It is one of the largest dragon boat festivals in the U.S., so you can imagine the disappointment from organizers of the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival when they discovered one of their boats was dead in the water.

“It’s great team building, comraderie,” said Lorraine Eloriaga, race director for the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival which is a little more than two weeks away. “It’s actually a celebration that started thousands of years ago in China.”

Eloriaga said their blue boat is one of the main vessels of the festival, but can't be used anymore after lightning struck the boat, leaving a massive hole in the back.

“It’s not repairable. He’s afloat right now, but the back end has a massive hole in it," she said.

The team is now scrambling, trying to figure out the logistics of getting a new boat from Cedar Rapids, Iowa back here to Denver by race day in a little more than two weeks.


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“We found the boats,” Eloriaga said. “Now, we just need to find the money and go pick them up. We do have volunteers that are willing to drive out, pick them up and drive them back.”

For now, teams continue to practice on the boats that are still afloat as they seek donations for a replacement.

“It would save the races,” Eloriaga said. “We’re a nonprofit organization. Our funds are very minimal. It would be $12,000, so we are asking for donations.”

Organizers say – one way or another – the show must go on.

“We’re here, we’re back, we’re ready, we’re excited, we have so much planned for everybody,” Eloriaga said.

If you'd like to help the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival, click here and select "Help Replace Damaged Dragon Boat" in the dropdown menu.

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