New boats featured in Fifth Annual GoodBoats for Goodwill

The annual GoodBoats for Goodwill dragon boat race and cultural festival returns for its fifth year to Augusta’s Lake Olmstead Park from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 7.

This year, generous Goodwill sponsors have purchased four new, 10-person dragon boats for the competition. These sleek, colorful boats replace heavier, 20-person boats, making it easier for some organizations to field teams of paddlers. Each boat bears the names selected by those sponsors: Textron Specialized Vehicles, J. Smith Lanier & Co., Snelling Properties, and In Honor of Peter Stitt.

Also new this year, Augusta’s Mayor, the Honorable Hardie Davis, will present the awards for the champion team of paddlers and for the most spirited team at the close of the day’s races. 

The competition features teams of paddlers who will take turns racing the ornate, colorful dragon boats starting at 9:30 a.m. and continuing throughout the day. Additional activities at the park include a festival showcasing Asian traditions such as the blessing of the boats and “Painting of the Dragon Eye.” The Augusta Chinese Association, Philippine American Association of the CSRA, and the Korean Catholic Community at St. Joseph will provide a variety of Asian food, and Asian cultural performances will be among the festivities along with children’s activities, music, beer and crafts. Admission is free. A gallery of photos from previous festivals is available at www.goodboats.org.

Boats and safety gear are provided for all paddlers. Team practice sessions begin soon; for coverage, contact Barry Paschal at 706-726-1986, or bpaschal@goodwillworks.org.

All proceeds from Good Boats benefit Helms College, the first licensed, nationally accredited and Title IV eligible college to be established by a Goodwill organization in the world.  For more information, go to www.goodboats.org or find GoodBoats on Facebook at facebook.com/GoodBoats. To learn more about Helms College, go to www.helms.edu.

GoodBoats takes place during Goodwill Week, celebrated nationwide each year on the first full week of May.

About Dragon Boat Racing:

Originating in China more than 2,500 years ago, dragon boats are the largest flat-water racing canoes in the world. Constructed of fiberglass, Goodwill’s new dragon boats weigh 850 pounds and are 36 feet long. Each team consists of 10 paddlers kept in sync by a drummer, with a steer person provided by the Augusta Rowing Club.