Dragon boat races raise funds for bridge

BYRAM TWP. About 225 compete in teams despite the poor weather.

Byram /
| 25 Sep 2023 | 04:47
    Cargando reproductor ...

Rain didn’t dampen the spirits of the 225 or so participants in the dragon boat races at Cranberry Lake as they paddled to raise money for restoration of a historic footbridge Saturday, Sept. 23 in Byram.

“It was a fun trauma bonding experience,” Caroline Peckham said joking. She captained the boat sponsored by the Hudson Farm Foundation.

“Everybody had a blast, and we came together quite well as a team to improve our times in each of the three races.”

The all-day event featured 12 teams of up to 25 people each racing dragon boats, which are like large canoes.

Crews of 20 people sat in pairs and paddled in multiple 250-meter races starting between the dam and state boat ramp and ending at the Cranberry Lake Community Club beach.

Each crew had a drummer beating time to keep the paddlers in unison and a professional steersman in the stern to guide the boat.

“We do not have the fundraising numbers totaled up yet, but we are happy with the turnout and look forward to doing it again next year,” said Kathy Esposito, who rowed with family and friends in the Kaloua Krew and helped organize the event as a member of the Byram Township 225th Anniversary Committee.

“We did not really have a fundraising goal but whatever money we did raise will go to Save Our Bridge.”

Established in 2018, Save Our Bridge is a nonprofit organization dedicated to restoring and preserving the Cranberry Lake footbridge through public awareness campaigns, fundraising, and engaging state and local elected officials.

The big winners included the team sponsored by Stonewood Tavern, which came in first. The Cranberry Castaways finished second and Kaloua Krew third.