Springfield hosts third annual Dragon Boat Festival - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Springfield hosts third annual Dragon Boat Festival

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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -

Nearly two dozen teams gathered at the riverfront in downtown Springfield for the third year in a row for the Dragon Boat Racing.

Susan Parent is part of the Springfield Dragon Rays, a team of breast cancer supporters and survivors.

"Diagnosed with breast cancer following my surgery and radiation, I was having a lot of problems with scar tissue on my left arm so I decided I needed to get into an activity with upper body strengthening," said Parent.

Since asked to join the Rays of Hope team, Parent has been hooked on the sport. The team has grown now to 40 members.

The final run determines the winner. It's a unique event that involves technique and teamwork.

Some experts have been paddling for years but for others, it's day one.

"We have a whole mix of employees throughout the company who get involved. Some have been doing it for a few years, some have had 45 minutes of practice," said John Chandler, Mass Mutual Chief Marketing Officer.

"On our boat we have finance administration doctors nurses here to have fun on the water and win," said Ryan Haley with the Baystate Healthy Dragons.

As many as 1,000 people came to watch this year's event.

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