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Cool, cloudy weather and a rainy start didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of over 750 participants and hundreds of spectators at the Sparta Education Foundation’s Fourth Annual Dragon Boat Festival on Lake Mohawk. With 37 teams competing in separate heats throughout the day on Sunday, May 20, some in brightly-colored and themed costumes, this high-energy event was just as much fun for spectators as it was for the paddlers. At the end of the day, community-winning teams included the first place Gold Medal to SA American Muscle. Silver Medal awards were given to RDA Fitness and Bronze Medals went to RedShed CrossFit. This exciting event was a fundraiser for Sparta’s public schools.

Crowds along the boardwalk enjoyed a prime view of the Dragon Boat races as well as access to food, drinks, music and a raffle for a paddleboard donated by Pelican Shops and a Coolest Cooler donated by the Lynam family.

The day’s boating theme was reflected in many of the Dragon Boat team names which included 50 Waves of Grey, Beastie Buoys, Ships and Giggles, and Dragon Slayerz. Dragon Boat Races were held in 46-foot long boats, and teams competed in 250 meter heats. Each team was comprised of 20 paddlers and one drummer. A steersman was provided by Dynamic Dragon Boat Racing. Each team received on-water practice session with a trained coach/steersperson prior to race day and every team competed in at least two heats on Sunday during the morning and afternoon rounds. A full staff of Lake Mohawk lifeguards and the Lake Mohawk Marine Patrol were on hand to attend to water safety.

For the third year in a row, the 2018 Dragon Boat Festival’s Platinum Sponsor was Atlantic Health System/Newton Medical Center Foundation. This year’s Gold Sponsors were Fogarty & Hara Counsellors at Law and Highlands State Bank. The Leaderboard Sponsor was Wellness Pediatrics. Silver Sponsors were Amp the Vibe, George Morville of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., Nisivoccia LLP Certified Public Accountants and Advisors, and Brown & Brown Benefit Advisors. In-Kind Sponsors included Lake Mohawk Country Club, Lake Mohawk Pool, Pelican Shops and Villa Capri II.

“Once again we were so happy to organize this event for the entire Sparta community to enjoy,” said Danielle Dykstra, President of the Sparta Education Foundation. “We are so grateful to our sponsors, participants, vendors, the many volunteers who lent a hand, the Lake Mohawk Country Club for providing us with such a spectacular venue, and the country club staff members who have been so helpful in the planning the Dragon Boat Festival with our event co-chairs Nancy Purnell and Andy Garger. This event truly shows Sparta pride, and the real winners are all the students in Sparta’s public schools who will benefit from future educational grants as a result of this successful fundraiser.”

Since 2006, the Sparta Education Foundation has funded over $898,000 in grants to all five of Sparta’s public schools. The Foundation is an all-volunteer, independent 501 (c) (3) NJ Non-Profit Corporation whose mission is to engage the entire community in philanthropic giving. Visit for more information about joining or volunteering.