Paddlers grab their gear to raise money for a cause

By KBJR News 1

August 22, 2014 Updated Aug 22, 2014 at 9:08 PM CDT

Superior, WI (NNCNOW.com) -- The 13th Annual Dragon Boat Festival kicked off Friday on Barker's Island in Superior.

Thousands of people are expected to be on the Island for the weekend long festival.

Paddlers are grabbing their gear and practicing their stroke to raise money for a great cause.

"It's a really fun, well managed festival. There's so many teams, so much diversity and it's a time for all of us to get together," said Cynthia Smith, Captain of Team Buzzkill.

The team is raising money to give people in Africa bug nets and have been participating in the festival since 2008.

"Instead of having team jerseys the first year we decided we would be sponsored by buying jerseys from them, the team Buzzkill jerseys; and that way a bed net and our names would be sent to Africa every year as a way to eradicate malaria," said Smith.

While teams like Buzzkill are raising money for a cause of their choice, the fees to participate in the festival go to Twin Ports Rotary Clubs and all of that money stays here in the Northland.

"Through the 12 years that we have done so far, just our clubs have raised a little over $700,000; and when we talk about the other groups that have raised money for themselves its about $1.4 million," said Dave Sauer, Co-Chair of the festival.

So weather it's your first time in the festival, or your 13th time, the ultimate goal is to have fun and of course win.

"You have to define winning, finishing is winning," said Smith.

Races start Saturday morning at 8 a.m.

The event is free and open to the public with live music and various venders throughout the day.

Posted to the web by Kati Anderson.