Alcan Dragon Boat Festival Friday: Blessing Ceremony + we crash the VIP Party

Alcan Dragon Boat Festival Friday: Blessing Ceremony + we crash the VIP Party


The blessing ceremony for the 19th annual Alcan Dragon Boat Festival went well.. except for Todd being slowed by North
Shore traffic.  Channel M had just called me and was asking if our honourary drummer James Erlandsen, leukemia patient, would be on the boat…

“Nope” I said, “his white blood count is too depleted.” 
“But James' spirit will be with us when we are on the boat, and our spirit is with his, in his recovery back to health.” We are helping to find a matching Eurasian bone marrow for James.  3 of our paddlers are Eurasian, and we have 3 inter-racial couples on the team! Hapa is s-o-o-o in!

Hmmm…. I arrived late and the team was already on the dock.  I
brought down the kilts which paddler Stuart Mackinnon and Drummer Deb each quickly put on. Team Captain
Jim Blatherwick already had his kilt on.

We loaded up the boat, and Taoist priests were already chanting and
dotting the eyes of the dragons…   then we paddled away from the
Dragon Zone dock.  Usually it is this time that drummer Deb does her
introductions of new guest paddlers on the boat – but in the 1st seat –
the female priest was singing/chanting.  Hillary's mother Bev Wong (James Erlandsen's Aunt), and currently inactive paddlers Jeremy and Jen – took pictures of us and waved to us from the Dragon Zone deck.

We paddled over to a float set up on the North side of Dragon Zone –
within good viewing of the VIP lounge on the North West side of the
Science World deck.  We let off the priest + a VIP + Captain Jim… the priests did
blessings.  Captain Jim stood during the ceremonies, and chatted with
the captains of Concord dragon boat team – Fred Roman, and captain of Cathay Pacific –
May.   Jim says the priests gave him a “lucky coin”.  While we waited
the 20 minutes while the priests did their equipment takedown – We paddled some
figure 8's and Deb introduced our guest paddlers.  2 youngsters from
Kitsilano Water Demons junior team, and their coach Chek Tay – whom I
have known since 1999.

We paddled back to the Dragon Zone dock – We started saying our
goodbyes because Deb & Todd were heading off to the ADBF VIP
party, and our paddlers were deciding what to do next when they were
immediately asked to help carrying things down to the dock, as Water's
Edge was setting up the race course.  While our paddlers helped out, and Todd bumped into ADBF general manager Ann
Phelps who said that she had to go help out her volunteers at the VIP
party.  Todd asked if she needed more volunteers, and offered the GHFC
paddlers. So we all did get to go to the VIP party afterall…. but as
volunteers. 

It was easy… we served drinks, bused the used dishes, and Todd
helped out at the reception desk.  We were told that we could relieve the
current volunteer staff, switch off and enjoy the party.  We did…  
Free wine, beer, drinks and food, food, food. 

Steven Wong saw his brother Peter who is past-president for ADBF. 
Georgia and I talked with Marlene's very good friend Patrick Couling –
who is an ADBF race advisor.  Vancouver City Councillor George Chow asked me
to help out with the 100th anniversary dinner for the 1907 Chinatown
Riots.  I chatted up the Rogers VIP representatives we had paddled over
to the float – potential sponsorship maybe?  Deb even got her father
into the VIP party, by putting a GHFC shirt over his t-shirt.  We
schmoozed, we ate, we drank, and volunteered hard. 

Hillary, our rookie paddler is amazing… This is her first Alcan Dragon Boat Festival, and she is both a paddler and a volunteer. Tonight, she bused hard, following a previous night when she did a First
Aid course for ADBF volunteers.  Two weeks ago she volunteered at the ADBF regatta,
when Gung Haggis wasn't paddling.  And she will do so again during the
festival.  Thank You Hillary.

Gung Haggis really helped out the ADBF tonight – both during the
blessing ceremony and for the VIP party. ADBF Communications director
Anita Webster, also said I saved her bacon this morning when I
interviewed for 2 spots during the City TV Breakfast TV morning show-
and especially for coming up for a tour of the DZ clubhouse, when the
heavens let loose the rains at 9am this morning.

Thank You everybody.  This is a FANTASTIC team, because of the high
quality of the people on the team.  It is a group that I and its team
members really enjoy being around.

Slainte, Toddish

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