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Our View: Dragon boat race is a summer staple

This weekend, West Point Lake will play host to the 4th annual Dragon Boat Race, which is held to benefit Harmony House Domestic Violence Shelter in LaGrange, a nonprofit organization which focuses on providing emergency shelter, security, crisis intervention, education and advocacy for adults and children who are victims of domestic violence.

This year, Harmony House hopes the fundraiser will raise $40,000.

The races, which will begin Saturday morning at 8:30 at Pyne Road Park, are only a portion of the fun and festivities of the day, however. Participating groups will be setting up tailgates and assorted paraphernalia as early as 6:30 a.m., with the expectation the event will last well into the afternoon.

The Dragon Boat Race event has quickly become a summer staple on West Point Lake, a point reinforced by the large crowds that have been in attendance each year. Last summer, approximately 3,000 people attended the event, and the hope is at least that number will return this weekend.

While contestants will be focused on doing their best to take home the first-place trophy, there are a plethora of opportunities for groups to win prizes. Awards for best tailgate will be given out, in addition to Voter’s Choice Awards that will be divvied out to crowd favorites. There are a plethora of reasons to attend the event outside of taking home the championship hardware.

In addition to the prizes available and good times, the money that is generated through the event is going to one of the most noteworthy causes around. Per its website, Harmony House helped shelter 144 residents in 2018, with 50 of those sheltered being children. Additionally, it served 117 clients through outreach and participated in 126 civic, employment and school presentations promoting awareness and prevention of domestic and teen dating violence.

The organization is doing good and meaningful work, which makes opportunities like the Dragon Boat Race especially important.

In addition, the event is free to attend, thanks to event sponsor Mike Patton Auto Family.

The event this weekend will be the rare blend of genuine fun for a great cause. Whether you are an active participant in the races or simply on the lookout for something to do outdoors this weekend, look no further than West Point Lake and Pyne Road Park, we know you won’t be disappointed.