Dragon Boat Festival in Springfield postponed due to river conditions
SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - The recent heavy rain and flooding that has impacted the Connecticut River has forced a big event planned for this weekend to be postponed.
“I’m sad and disappointed to report that we have postponed the festival,” said Ben Quick, executive director of the Pioneer Valley Riverfront Club.
There was very unfortunate news Wednesday from Quick. For the first time since 2020, there will not be an annual dragon boat festival at Springfield’s North Riverfront Park. Despite eight months of planning, Quick told Western Mass News that it was a unanimous decision from the internal committee and public safety officials.
“Between the river flooding (and) weather forecasts,” Quick explained. “…The population who will be participating, we need to take their safety into mind first and foremost.”
For eight years, the festival has featured companies, teams, and organizations racing in dragon boats in the Connecticut River, but the severe weather in the past couple of weeks has caused the water levels to rise. As a result, the current is still moving fast, which is the club’s major concern. Quick also told us there are questions about water quality and debris as 500 participants were set to participate with hundreds looking to watch.
“At the moment, it’s almost unnoticeable, but it is also highly variable and water quality is always a concern. People are noticing right now the water is very brown. This is a result of the millions of gallons of runoff upstream from us,” Quick added.
Quick called the final outcome difficult and heart wrenching, but he said many of the participants he has contacted so far have remained positive.
“The response so far has been unanimously supportive, sympathetic, and appreciative that we have their safety in mind,” Quick noted.
Quick said there are still programs on tap for the rest of the season.
“We have youth rowing, adult rowing, and dragon boating practice will continue,” Quick said.
While no dragon boats will be seen on the Connecticut River this weekend, Quick hopes the event will be made up before mid-fall.
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