Dragon moves to new lairKeyport Liquor and Lounge becomes a dragon’s lair Thursday. For a year, a crystal dragon statue will rest there, symbol of a job well done.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
Keyport Liquor and Lounge becomes a dragon’s lair Thursday. For a year, a crystal dragon statue will rest there, symbol of a job well done. The business’ team, Keyport Krew, raised a record $22,468 for the Lake Superior Dragon Boat Festival this year.
“We’re pretty proud,” said Connie Austin, team manager.
At 6 p.m. Thursday, representatives from the SMDC Foundation present the traveling award to Keyport.
“I think this is just such a wonderful opportunity to celebrate with one of the teams that has gone above and beyond,” said SMDC spokeswoman Kim Kaiser. “We’re so grateful for all the creative things they do to raise money.”
This year, the festival raised $81,500 which will be used to purchase a digital mammography machine for St. Mary’s Hospital of Superior and provide compassionate care for women with breast cancer through the SMDC Health System’s Breast Cancer and Health Fund.
Keyport’s win is the result of community support and a year-long focus on fundraising. It is also a tribute to good-natured competition. Their Krew placed second last year to the Jack’s Place team, Jack’s Thirsty Dragon.
“We just found out how competitive we were,” said Keyport owner Mark Casper. “We wanted to win the fundraising award.”
The Krew held wine dinners, silent auctions, golf outings, an outdoor concert and even a rummage sale. As they amassed their horde, they knew it was for a good cause.
“All the money went to the breast cancer program,” Austin said.
And, Casper added, all the money stayed in the area.
Keyport has entered teams in the dragon boat festival for eight years. Their rowing earned them seventh place finishes two years in a row, and now they’ve walked away with a first in a different category.
As they raised funds, the Krew was impressed with the way customers and the community as a whole rallied to the events, especially during a recession.
“We would like to say thanks to them,” Austin said. “Whether they donated time or items or were part of our fundraisers.”
At the dragon’s former lair, the Jack’s Place team has a tale of its own.
They won the statue by raising $13,140 last year. Although that number jumped to $18,169.12 this year, it wasn’t enough to beat the Keyport Krew.
Even with the loss of the dragon, Jack’s Thirsty Dragon made their goal for the year – to raise at least $50,000 in the four years they have competed. The team exceeded that goal by $6,000.
“Everybody enjoys doing it,” said Karen Geegan, who owns Jack’s Place with her husband, Ron. “It’s a way to give back to the community.”
She welcomed the competition from Keyport.
“We challenge everybody to beat us,” Geegan said, because it’s the community that benefits.
The Lake Superior Dragon Boat Festival is headed by the Superior, Superior Sunrise and Harbortown Rotary clubs. The purpose of the event is threefold. First, funds are raised for a community partner like SMDC.
“Rotary clubs look for community partners who can help a lot of people, not just a few,” said Casper, a Superior Rotary Club member.
Second, sales of merchandise and other items at the event provide funds for the rotary clubs that are then distributed locally.
Third, the Dragon Boat Festival provides a day of free fun for community members.
“It’s a wonderful event for the city,” Geegan said. “It’s great to see so many people go out and get involved.”
Dragon boat teams are already gearing up for next year. At Keyport, the fundraising begins right after the award presentation. Meat raffles will be held at the Keyport Lounge on the first Thursday of every month, starting in October.