La PORTE — More than 500 paddlers are expected to compete in the ancient Chinese sport of dragon boat racing on Saturday when Dunebrook brings back its popular fundraiser for the sixth year in a row.

The sixth annual Dragon Boat Races will start at 9 a.m. Saturday rain or shine at Stone Lake Beach, 350 Grangemouth Road, La Porte.

The canoe-like vessels are adorned with a dragon head and tail on the bow and stern. Teams of 16-20 paddlers row in unison to the beat of a drummer who helps them stay in time. A steersman helps paddlers stay on course.

According to Dunebrook, the adrenaline-pumping action requires synchronicity and finesse more than power to win.

Spectators can enjoy child-friendly activities, face painting, music and food vendors from Christ Gospel Church and Redamak’s as they cheer on their favorite team.

This year’s teams are: Acme Communications, CLH, PC, LaPorte Hospital, Nipsco, Franciscan Health Michigan City, Southshore Skipping Stones, First Church of God, American Licorice, American Renolit, Applegate & Company, CPAs, Blind Pig, Duneland Media/Laura K All Day and BWW, UPS, Journey Church, Chicago Phoenix, Horizon Bank, Little Shop of Horrors, #LAPORTEPROUD!!, La Porte High School Choruses, New Prairie High School, Michigan City High School and LaLumiere High School.

Proceeds from the Dragon Boat Races will provide vital support for Dunebrook’s parent education and family strengthening programs, Body Safety and public education programs and Child Advocacy Center.

According to the Indiana Department of Child Services, La Porte County suffered 359 substantiated cases of child sexual abuse, physical abuse and neglect in 2018.

 

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