LAKE Jindabyne came alive at the weekend with over 800 paddlers and as many others just having fun in the park and on the water. The 8th Lake Jindabyne Flowing Festival brought the community out in force to battle it out over 200 metres in a series of heats and finals on Sunday.
By the time the finals came along, everyone had to dig deep to find the energy to surge the big dragon boats through the water.
The Community/Corporate Final saw the legends from Gidgillys power home in 53.54, putting a dragon head between them and Lakewood (54.02) and Thredbo Thunder (55.71), followed by SMGS Seniors (56.53).
Thredbo Thunder took out the Mountain Challenge with Perisher and Thredbo picking up the minor places. Lakewood Barnyard dressed up and won the coveted Fancy Dress cash prize, and raised the bar again for following festival costumes.
Snowy Hydro sponsor the Junior Challenge, a race for schools and young people in Years 7-10.
After many years as the bridesmaid, Jindy Central roared home in 59.88, a second ahead of a resurgent St Pats crew. Then followed SMGS and the Guides to complete a fantastic day for the young paddlers.
The Juniors were at it again in the Junior Sports Finals, where the crews came from all years and schools.
This event has been a real battle between SMGS and Canberra crews in the past, but this Festival saw a domination by Canberra Grammar Red who smashed across the line in 49.60, faster than many of the senior crews. Then followed CGS Blue, Saints Blue and SMGS.
SMGS plan to compete in the state and national titles later this year, and will need to put in some solid training to get their strength and speed to a competitive level. They have support from the Snow Dragons who provide coaching and training, so things can improve quickly for them.
The Sports Finals showcase the might and power of the dedicated Canberra Ice Dragons, who are in the running to take out the National Titles in April, and come here in huge numbers as part of their training schedule.
Their astonishing time of 46.63 gave them the podium top spot, and they were followed by Komodo HotDogs (46.96) and CGS 1 (48.83).
The Flowing Festival Dragon Boat Challenge was a huge success, and the presence of new crews in all categories and the exhibition of supreme effort made the races a real spectacle.
The races were run by the team from Dragon Boat NSW, who provided volunteers to not only conduct the race schedule, but also boat wrangling and Training Sessions on Saturday.
Full results will be available on the SnowDragons website www.flowingfestival.com.au
While the races were on the water, dry land had never been so much fun.The carnival atmosphere in the park was reminiscent of a medieval fair, with the King and Queen of Green entertaining the kids and adults, the Lion Dancers wowing the crowds, the carnival rides thrilling young and old, and the fabulous market stalls offering everything from avacados to zen readings.
The Festival is now one of the biggest sports community events in the region, and is unique in the way it offers just so much for everyone over two days.
The small but dedicated Lake Jindabyne Snow Dragons organise the event each year, coordinated by Jo Davis.
A lot of hard work goes on behind the scenes and for months in advance of the actual Festival - if you want to part of next year's event, please join the Snow Dragons and you can paddle as well.
The Snowy River Shire Council had a big presence at this year's Festival, with their focus on organics and recycling, and the new Community Garden was able to show the produce they'd grown.
Relay For Life supplied sunscreen for the Festival, using over two litres, slapping and slopping the crowd.
Jindabyne Netballers looked after the barbecue on Saturday, following another very successful 2000 metre twilight race on the water, taken out by Ice Dragons with a very excited Snow Dragons coming home in third place. The training is paying off.
The Picnic in the Park on Saturday night was a great success, and local ukulele band The Jukes, and Kayla, showcased local talent.
Locals are always ready to party and have fun, and the level of community support and participation this year was exceptional. All the local schools put in junior and senior teams, Snowy Hydro had two crews this year, continued support came from the mountain resorts National Parks staff, and the shire council, and Woolies had a new entry, promising to be back next year.
Thanks to everyone who came along and were ready to get wet and have fun.