Oar you ready? Harmony House’s Dragon Boat benefit race to return July 16

Published 10:00 am Sunday, July 3, 2022

On Saturday July 16, Harmony House’s sixth annual Dragon Boat Race is set to return. The race will take place at West Point Lake from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Anyone who wants to watch the race can attend the event for free and enjoy activities at the tailgating areas.

This year’s event will have a variety of food trucks and even a stage DJ keeping the hits coming.

Annually, the race calls for 20 individual teams, each with 20 people in all competing in the races. In this year’s competition, it is expected to the tradition to continue.

“On average, we have seen 2000-3000 people show up for the whole event. When COVID hit, attendance went down but this year we were expecting big numbers for it,” said Kari Jones, Community Educator and Prevention Coordinator said.

The event will be hosted by the Harmony House board of directors and all proceeds from the race will go the Harmony House domestic violence shelter. Historically, the event typically brings in approximately $35,000-$40,000 to benefit Harmony House. This fundraiser is even more important this year as Harmony House’s funding via the city of LaGrange was cut in half, in early June.

According to the WPL Dragon Boat Race website, dragon boat racing is the 8th fastest growing sport in the world with more than 50 million people in 63 countries participating each year. Teams of up to 20 paddlers and a drummer race in authentic Hong Kong-style, 46-footlong dragon boats. Coaches and professional steerers are provided to help each team during the race.

To win the competition, teams have to strategize and work together as one. The team members in the front of the boat work in sync to lead the back half of the boat. Members in the middle of the boat is combine their strength with the speed of the paddlers in the back, to help the dragon boat glide through the water.

Teams from the Troup County Domestic Violence Task Force, Troup Country School System, Duracell, and Point University are competing in the race, Jones said. Along with local organizations competing in the race, there will be some teams from high school organizations in the race also.

“It’s a good team bonding experience. Newborns to however old are going to be there, it’s just a really fun event,” Jones said.

The winning teams in the first, second, and third-places will receive trophies. The trophies are made a little different every year. In the past, some have come from China, whereas others have been hand-made in LaGrange.

This year’s presenting sponsor is the Mike Patton Auto Family. Along with long-time sponsor Patton, other sponsors have included Duracell, Milliken, The Medicine Cabinet and Mare Sol.    

Harmony House first opened in 2005 and was fully certified by the Department of Human Services in 2008. They are dedicated to helping and providing domestic violence victims and their children 24/7 with emergency shelter, meals, crisis intervention, safety planning, counseling, transportation, legal assistance, childcare, advocacy and training for self-sufficiency. The organization also works to promote domestic violence awareness to the community. According to Harmony House’s website, over the last five years, the organization has responded to approximately 4,221 crisis calls, sheltered 583 residents including 258 children, and served about 545 clients through their outreach office.For more information on Harmony House, call (706) 885-1525 or visit http://www.harmonyhousega.org/.