Nonprofits and large number of organizations compete in annual Pensacola Dragon Boat Festival
By Kaylee Jones
Pensacola hosted its fifth annual Dragon Boat Festival on Saturday held by Northeast Pensacola’s Sertoma at Bayview Park. There was a total of 36 teams that were comprised of different businesses and groups from all over the immediate area who come together for one day to support local nonprofits.
One team on a dragon boat has 20 paddlers, a drummers and a steer’s person who is provided by Dynamic Dragon Boat racing. The race is 300 meters long in Bayou Texar and four boats race at a time. Each team raced a total of 3 times, the first two times are averaged together and then they rank the boats from slowest to fastest and all teams will compete with boats in their time group. In the final race, the fastest boat to cross the finish line is the winner.
This year the winner of the dragon boat race was North Mobile Family YMCA followed by Ultimate Dragon Slayers, Baptist Heart & Vascular, Gulf Coast Kids House, and Caldwell Association, who has won the two previous years. The festival also has local vendors, food trucks and a children’s activities for the day long event.
Northeast Pensacola Seratoma is a nonprofit that host events to support the local community. All profits from their events go to other local non-profits. Gulf Coast Kids House has been a primary beneficiary for all five years of the event and this is the first year for the secondary beneficiary, Junior Achievement.
Gulf Coast Kids House is a local not-for-profit that assist cases and the prevention of child abuse. They partner with local sheriff and police office, department of children and families, child protection team, Office of the State Attorney, and Lutheran Services Florida to provide care and support for their victims.
“We are a child advocacy center,” Stacey Kostevicki, executive director of Gulf Coast Kids House said. “We house all the professionals and resources that are needed to respond to child abuse cases under one roof.”
The Pensacola Dragon Boat Festival event support the Gulf Coast Kids house Legacy program which helps child abuse prevention and the advocacy program which assists with child abuse cases.
Junior Achievement of Northwest Florida, the secondary beneficiary, is a nonprofit organization that use volunteers in the local business community to prepare young people for the real world. The profits from this event go to support the materials, resources, and teaching of the volunteers to conduct these courses.
“We have thoroughly enjoyed the Sertoma Club,”Ildi Hosman, the president of Junior Achievement of Northwest Florida said. “Gulf Coast Kids House has been amazing partner, we’ve enjoyed it so much and have found it to be so worthwhile and we are privileged to be a part of it”
Northeast Pensacola Sertoma is already gearing up for next year’s Dragon boat festival, which will take place in September of 2019.