A street market-style gala seems appropriate for the Dragon Boat Society’s silver anniversary celebration.
For 25 years they’ve organized dragon boat races in Victoria’s Inner Harbour and developed programs for a diverse slate of athletes. To celebrate the milestone, the society morphs its traditional community dinner into a glitzy affair.
“We thought it would be fun to have a dress-up event,” says Jennifer Loo, marketing and community relations for Fairway Market.
It’s a tip of the hat to the 1930s, when there was a magical blend of Westernization and traditional dress merging, she notes. Loo invites guests to slip into their finest Qipao or best suit and hat to celebrate the Dragon Boat Society while raising funds in support of their many community dragon boat programs, festivals and youth development.
“Celebrating 25 years is huge, not many festivals and celebrations can say they last 25 years,” Loo adds.
The event transports guests back to the 1930s for a glamorous evening inspired by the nightlife culture of Shanghai’s golden era when the city was known as the Paris of the Orient. The ‘Dragon Club’ features tea leaf reading, a gambling den and fancy drinks alongside food stalls, and the Chris Millington Band on stage.
The night will feature a silent auction, live auctions and lai see (red envelope) prizes — a Chinese New Year tradition of good fortune – all to support the festival and training programs. The mission is to bring our communities together through dragon boating.
“You don’t have to be an athlete, you just have to want to be part of a team. There’s no superstars,” Loo says of the sport. “You just have to want to be with a great group of people. That’s it.”
The Meet Me In Shanghai fundraising gala is June 8 at the Delta Ocean Point Hotel.
Visit victoriadragonboat.com/festival/shanghai/ for ticket information.