Dragons fire up Festival
By LEIGH PRITCHARD
SOUTH Grafton High School Year 11 student Brooke Walters was laughing and cheering as she leapt out of her team's dragon boat after a close semi-final yesterday. Ms Walters was ecstatic her Year 11 male and female crew had progressed to the final of the Grafton Dragon Boat Festi- val. More than anything though, she was just happy to be out on the water. Her joy was shared by hun-
dreds of other competitors who took to the Clarence Riv- er yesterday for the annual event. "It is a lot of fun . . . every- one gets wet and it is pretty competitive," Ms Walters said. "We knew we had a chance of going to Sydney so we en- tered a team." Dragon Boats New South Wales president Melanie Can- twell said the atmosphere cre- ated by the 28 teams was 'huge'. "So many people turned out to support their community,"
Ms Cantwell said. "We love coming to Grafton." Yesterday's overall winning team will travel to Sydney for the Chinese New Years festival to compete against 120 teams. Ms Cantwell said the races had become 'very competitive'. Thousands of people lined the shores of the Clarence River yesterday to soak up the atmosphere. Memorial Park was the scene of markets and live entertainment to coincide with the dragon boat races. n Who won the final? Find out in sport: BACK PAGE.
ALL TOGETHER NOW: The Flaming Dames are all heart during a heat of the dragon boat races on the Clarence River yesterday. Photos: DEBRAH NOVAK.