Friday, May 05, 2023

Top 5 Reasons To Check Out The Summer Festival

The perfect return to summer outdoors with friends


Spring has arrived and summer is almost upon us. Finally, the clouds appear to be lifting and just in time for a reintroduction to days spent with friends under the bright summer sun. Some may see this as a chance to make up for time lost to a winter in the great white north, some still may even see the coming summer as a return of time owed after having trudged along through the pandemic. Regardless of the degree, the question still becomes: what is the best way to bring all your loved ones together to show the past few years that our shared boat has finally made it to shore? 


Perhaps the answer is to transition from the metaphorical boat adrift in the middle of the water to a boat more anchored in reality and directed by a team of our closest and dearest instead. Here are four more reasons that the returning Tim Hortons Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival is the perfect event to kick start this Ottawa summer.


There’s a Place for Everyone


With dozens of teams and hundreds of participants at Ottawa's annual Dragon Boat Festival, there are plenty of paddlers and boats around to suit you and your crew. Whether you are ultra competitive and plan to make your way to the podium by Sunday's end, or if you just seek a physical outdoor activity to rally your family and friends around, any participant will be hard pressed to feel out of place. There are also more than a dozen Challenge Cup divisions covering different job fields, age groups, walks of life, competition levels, and even a Family division for teams made up of extended family members. So aspirations for taking a moment atop the podium may not be as lofty as one might think and provide even more reason to see hopping in a boat as the perfect means to reconnect in-person with co-workers, neighbours, family and friends alike. 


So Much Fun in the Sun to Choose From


Events like this festival are few and far between because festivals, especially athletically minded ones, tend to zero in on that focal point and maybe sprinkle in other elements, such as food and entertainment, as needed. That is not the case at the Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival where their operations team works tirelessly for months to treat each aspect of the festival as though it were a festival of its own. Anyone on the festival grounds could just as easily feel they've had a full festival experience by partaking in all areas of the event or being completely dedicated to the Dragon Boat races, the Ottawa Wa’a, the festival’s popular multi-sport paddling event for OC1, SUP, Surf Ski, 1X, Kayak, and Canoes, solely showing up for the nightly free concerts; or entirely engulfed by the family-fun zone, food trucks, or other vendors.


Ways To Get Involved And Give Back


Another great thing about this festival is that your participation can carry on beyond just paddling that weekend. The festival partners with its sister organization ODBF, which is a charitable foundation raising funds for local charities through its annual ODBF Pledge Challenge.


Then there is the large volunteer army that helps build and run the festival every year; volunteers that often get involved after having participated on the water in previous years. Ottawa has a rich rowing and water-based sporting community and participation here can easily open up doors for other activities throughout the year and area. 


The Timing is Perfect


Want more incentive? How about this: the official first day of summer is June 21, and the festival starts June 23 just in time for the first weekend of summer! Round up your crew, register your team at, and mark "Best Start of Summer Ever!" on your calendar!


Posted: March 1, 2023 | NEWS
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