Dragon boat festival cancelled

The Kelowna Dragon Boat Festival, to have been  Aug. 26 to 28 at Waterfront Park, has been cancelled for this year.

Dan Giesbrecht, president of Maximum Sports and Entertainment, the producer of the festival, blamed  regulatory demands and user fees imposed by the City of Kelowna for causing the event to be cancelled after 12 years.

“Part of our issue each year has been trying to keep the Kelowna festival competitive on a provincial level as a desirable race location,” explained Dan Giesbrecht in a news release issued Thursday afternoon.

“This meant keeping the race competition and the festival entertainment at a higher level than just a ‘local’ festival could offer.

“Increasing regulatory demands from all levels of government, escalating user and venue fees from the City of Kelowna, and an event policy environment that limits revenue generating opportunities, have all eroded our bottom line.”

The annual Kelowna Dragon Boat Festival attracted over 35,000 participants between 1999 and 2010. More than 80 per cent of whom came from outside the Okanagan, including B.C., Alberta and the northwest U.S.

“The cancellation of the 2011 festival is unfortunate, but hopefully, come the fall, a new council will bring a fresh perspective to the value and economic impact of large scale events to our community and make changes to the current event-related policies,” Giesbrecht said.


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