Row, row, row your boats

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T wo days full of boat racing and family fun is to take place from tomorrow at Lakeside North Harbour, at 10am.

Organised by the Rotary Clubs of Portsmouth, Southsea and Southsea Castle, Portsmouth’s annual Dragon Boat Festival will see two days of teams racing around the lake in order to raise money for their chosen charities or for the Rotary nominated charity, which this year is The Haven.

Teams consist of 16 paddlers and a drummer, whose job it is to beat the time and try to ensure the paddling is synchronised.

Spectators can come along for free to watch and cheer on the teams, as well as being able to take part in a number of activities for all of the family. There will be a children’s play area, laser quest, try archery, various health and sporting activities and charity stalls.

There will also be an ice cream van, food outlets and a licenced bar for adults.

The even will be opened by the band T.S Tenacity and the Portsmouth Model Boat Club will also be running a demonstration over lunch time.

Carol Jenkinson, member of the Portsmouth Dragon Boat Committee, says: ‘As a member of the Around and Around team, I have competed in the Dragon Boat Festival for the past six years and I find it a very fun way to raise money for charity.

‘It’s a really fun day out for everyone because we’ve got so much going on, it’s not just about the racing.’

The event comes this weekend after being postponed from its normal date in May, after an unusually warm April sparked a bloom of blue-green algae on the lake.

Contact with the bacteria has to be avoided and for this reason all activities on the lake, including the festival, had to be rescheduled for the autumn.

Organisers are hoping that visitors will still attend this weekend to be a part of a day full of fun and money raising.

The event is at Lakeside North Harbour, Western Road, PO6 3EN, from 10am - 4pm on both days.

People can attend for free but are asked if parking, to give a donationof £2 per car.

Visit or contact Carol Jenkinson on 07979 0 30461 for more information.