The Ground Zero Dragon Boat Festival brings “a fun day for a great cause,” which is how the ministry’s advancement director, Kaydee Culclasure describes the event.
And this year, the festival’s 11th, a couple changes will make paddling for the cause even more fun.
The Dragon Boat Race will be Saturday, April 27 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. at Grand Park at The Market Common.
This is the year’s biggest fundraiser for Ground Zero, whose mission, Culclasure said, “is to make a positive impact in the lives of today’s teenagers to cultivate their faith and transform their futures.”
While it does partner with local churches for various events, the ministry is not affiliated with a particular church or denomination.
To learn more about Ground Zero, visit www.mygroundzero.com.
In the 200-meter race, teams of 20 paddlers and one drummer compete, racing for the fastest time in their division.
There are prizes for the best race results as well as for fundraising efforts.
The money raised is used for the ministry to provide special events for local teens, to bring in guest speakers, to provide food for the teens and for the upkeep of the ministry.
And, in addition to the race, which is an event in itself, there will be a drummer costume competition, a DJ, vendors, entertainment, and a family fun zone.
The drummers’ pictures will be displayed on a board, and until 3 p.m., the public will get to vote for their favorite by putting money into a box provided.
The family fun zone, which will have an entry fee, has expanded to include rides and inflatables not just for the kids, but for the adults also.
In addition to the general wristband, there may be a separate charge or a “per play” or “per ride” fee for the adult activities.
One adult activity will involve a game very similar to one on the Wide World of Wipeout TV show.
“There will be large balls in the middle of two platforms that they will run across without falling down,” Culclasure explained.
She added that the adult rides and inflatables have been added “so everyone can get involved and be part of the fun.”
The number of vendors at the boat race festival has increased this year, with upwards of 50 expected.
The actual layout of the festival will be a little different this year as well, making the event bigger, and making it more convenient for guests to maneuver and get around.
The Ground Zero Dragon Boat Festival has lasted these 11 years, Culclasure said, because people realize, not just how much fun it is, but how important it is for the area.
“We are trying to make a movement for Christ, and when people find out what we’re about, they’re locked in and engaged.”