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OUR VIEW: Why you should attend Saturday’s Dragon Boat Race

This weekend West Point Lake will play host to the 5th annual Dragon Boat Race, which is held to benefit Harmony House Domestic Violence Shelter in LaGrange, a nonprofit organization that focuses on providing emergency shelter, security, crisis intervention, education and advocacy for adults and children who are victims of domestic violence. The annual event was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event typically brings in $35,000-$40,000 to benefit Harmony House, but having taken a year off due to the pandemic, it is unclear how much it will bring in this year. Hopefully, the numbers remain somewhat even, if not, higher.

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. 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. The last time the event was held, approximately 3,000 people attended, 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 number 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. In the last five years, Harmony House is estimated to have responded to 4,221 crisis calls, sheltered 583 residents including 258 children, and served 545 clients through its outreach office.

Harmony House has a 24-hour crisis line at (706) 885-1525.

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.