Feel the Energy!

On Saturday, August 17, 2019, crowds will roar again as dragon boats speed across Lake Minocqua. Delectable smells and entertaining music will drift over the festival grounds at Torpy Park, enticing paddlers andspectators to dine, dance and dally. Get ready for the 4thAnnual Minocqua Dragon Boat Festival!


Most paddlers come to the Minocqua Dragon Boat Festival with a specific team. But sometimes individuals want to paddle. If that’s you, not to worry - you won’t be left out. Individuals can register and be placedon a team with other solo paddlers. Because there were numerous individual registrants last year, festival registration guru Jared Kassien was able to put them all together on one team.

The team’s members spanned a range of ages, including the oldest paddler, age 85. They also had varying degrees of experience. Some had never been in a dragon boat race before. Others had. And one had even competed with the U.S. Dragon Boat team in Hong Kong.

“Since we were made up of unconnected parts, we were named Frankenstein’s Monster,” recalled paddler and team captain, Debbie McFadden. “But it didn’t take long for these many random parts to become a single body.”

What they all had in common was a competitive spirit and a desire to raise money for the Foundation. They won their first heat, and their drummer, Julie Yandell, won the award for the mostfestive drummer.

“When I heard the name of the team,” Julie recalled, “I knew right away that I’d have to come dressed as the Bride of Frankenstein. I had the wig with the white strips, and when we did our team cheer, we’d do it first in English, and then in Monster. Rawr, rawr, rawr. It was a thing of beauty.”

It was a great afternoon for the team, having fun together and raising money for a good cause.

“As seasonal residents, we certainly appreciate the quality and availability of healthcare in the Minocqua area,” said Debbie. “We think it’s absolutelyamazing for a town with the year-round population of 4,500. But it wouldn’t be possible without the Howard Young Foundation."

Nearly all members of the team will be returning to the 2019 Minocqua Dragon Boat Festival, but this year as the Merry Band of Mariners. (Rumor has it that Maid Marian may make an appearance.)


This free event not only provides exhilarating entertainment and family-friendly activities, but it also raises funds for the Howard Young Foundation. During the first two years,the festival raised over $500,000, every penny of which went to fund technology and facility upgrades at Howard Young Medical Center in Woodruff and Ascension Eagle River Hospital in Eagle River. In 2018, more than $110,00 was raised and is being used to support the new Open Medicine Institute & Howard Young Foundation Tick-Borne Illness Center of Excellence. This year’s proceeds will be splitbetween the Autism Services and Tick-Borne Illness Center.

Teams of 16 – 20 paddlers pay a registration fee to compete in the event and are also encouraged to raise additional funds by gathering pledges. Anyone can pledge on behalf of a team or specific paddler, or they can donate directly to the Foundation.

Everything a team needs to complete is included with their registration including:

- Use of a dragon boat, life vests, paddles and a steersperson/coach

- One practice, scheduled in the week leading up to the event

- Racing on the 300-metercourse at least two times on race day

You can register your team at www.minocquadragonboat.com.


In addition to a dedicated event committee, it takes over 100 volunteers to helpkeep the festival running smoothly. They take care of so many important tasks including placing signage, handing out paddles, holdingboats and posting results. With a variety of time slots and types of responsibilities available, there is surely something to fit the schedule and talents of every interested volunteer.

Local service clubs are also involved. They coordinate the food and beverage concessions, keeping the crowds fed and happy.

Our sponsors are another key to keeping this community event free and open to the public. Their contributions include financial, in-kind, property use, labor and more. With their generous support, we canput dragon boats in the water, tents on the ground and people in the park and ensure that every penny raised through this wonderful event goes to the Foundation to support their important mission.

“The festival is beautiful, and it’s so much fun to watch the boats and the people come and go,” Debbie shared. “There’s just a general air of good will. You don’t want to miss it!”

Don’t have a team but want to paddle? No problem. You can register as an individual and be addedto a team. To register as an individual or a team, become a volunteer, pledge your support or arrange a sponsorship, please visit www.minocquadragonboat.com.

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