Dragon, Rubber Ducky Races Will Be Saturday

The Chautauqua Lake Dragon Boat Race will take place Saturday at Lucille Ball Memorial Park, located at 21 Boulevard Ave., Celoron. The Greater Chautauqua Federal Credit Union’s Rubber Ducky Race will also take place at the park Saturday. P-J photo by Eric Tichy

CELORON — If you miss watching the dragons on the concluded TV show “Game of Thrones,” Saturday might be your chance to see the mythological creatures once again.

The dragons this time, however, will be on Chautauqua Lake in the form of boats operated by 20-person teams as they race each other over a distance of 200 meters.

The Chautauqua Lake Dragon Boat Race will be Saturday at Lucille Ball Memorial Park, located at 21 Boulevard Ave., Celoron. Registration will be from 7-8:15 a.m., with a pancake breakfast starting at 7:30 a.m. The opening ceremony, which is referred to as the “Waking of the Dragon,” will start at 8:45 a.m., with the races to immediately follow.

Bill Stevenson, Chautauqua Lake Dragon Boat Race committee member, said a race will occur about every 10 to 15 minutes, with the finals to be held at 2 p.m. Awards are tentatively scheduled to be awarded at 4 p.m.

Prior to the races Saturday, there will be pre-race practice at the park in Celoron from 5-8 p.m. The public is welcome to attend both the races and the practice.

“We have more teams this year,” Stevenson said about the event that is entering its fourth year on Chautauqua Lake. “We have 28 teams and we have five pro teams from places like Pittsburgh and Cleveland. For the first time, the pro teams will be in a class of their own.”

Stevenson said each year more and more people venture to Lucille Ball Memorial Park to see the dragon boats on Chautauqua Lake.

“It’s a really great event because of where we do it,” he said. “People love the area. They love Lucy Park. They love putting up their tents. It almost becomes a tent village for the different teams. It all fits really well together.”

Along with the dragons, thousands of rubber duckies will race as well on Chautauqua Lake. According to the event’s website — chqdragonrace.org — the Greater Chautauqua Federal Credit Union’s Rubber Ducky Race will take place at 1:30 p.m. before the dragon boat final.

During the past few years, the Greater Chautauqua Federal Credit Union has raised more than $22,000 to benefit the Chautauqua Lake Association and Jamestown Lakers Disabled Hockey Program.

Starting in May, people were able to purchase a Rubbery Ducky Race ticket for $5. Each rubber ducky has a number on it that matches one of the purchased tickets. The person with the winning rubber ducky ticket number will win $500.

“The village of Celoron would like to acknowledge and thank the many volunteers and residents of Celoron for their assistance with the dragon boat race,” said Scott Schrecengost, Celoron mayor. “This year will be the largest race as the number of participants has expanded and will include five boats in the club division. As the event continues to grow, we are very grateful that we have our local Celoron Hose Company No. 1 and their volunteers to ensure the rower’s safety. For the last three years, our small community has come together in so many ways and we are glad that we can assist the dragon boat committee with the use of our park, boat launch and restrooms.”

I am proud to say that every year we have countless individuals who give their time and energy assisting the dragon boat committee to create an exciting and memorable event. We look forward to another great year.”

All proceeds of the dragon boat race go to nonprofits including the Chautauqua Lake Association, The Resource Center and the Chautauqua Lake Rowing Association.