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Dragon returns to Barker's Island

A tradition is back when the dragon awakes Aug. 26 on Barker's Island.

Teams of paddlers line up for the team parade that starts at 6 p.m. Aug. 26, followed by the opening ceremony and waking of the dragon at 6:30 p.m. The Lake City Smoking Section performs on the main stage after the ceremony and fireworks begin about 9:05 p.m.

The fun starts early Aug. 27, with the Superior Optimist pancake breakfast 7-11 a.m. Races begin at 8 a.m. and run until 5 p.m.; and entertainment and activities run throughout the day. The award and closing ceremony starts at 7 p.m. Aug. 27.

The 15th annual Lake Superior Dragon Boat Festival is hosted by the Superior, Duluth Harbortown and Superior Sunrise Rotary clubs.

First held in 2002, the festival is a fundraiser for the Rotary clubs and charitable partner, Essentia Health Foundation and is a free, family-friendly event.

The Barker's Island boat launch, swimming beach and fishing platform are closed during the festival, but people can still access Barker's Island Inn, Barker's Island Marina, the Ship's Store, Charter Fishing, the SS Meteor, Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve offices and Captain J's Miniature Golf during the festival.

Foot traffic is welcome, but vehicular traffic onto the island the evening of the 26th and all day on the 27th will be limited.

Motorists are urged to use caution along the East Second Street corridor during the festival.

The speed limit drops to 25 miles per hour on East Second Street from Belknap Street to 18th Avenue East during the festival; pedestrians will be allowed to cross East Second Street at Belknap Street or Ninth Avenue East. Members of the Superior Police Auxiliary in the area assist with pedestrian and vehicular traffic flow.

Public parking will be restricted on Barker's Island for the festival. A free shuttle to the Dragon Boat Festival will operate from Mariner Mall on North 28th Street and Hill Avenue parking lot. The shuttle is available on the southwest side of the mall, adjacent to the former Food Service Marketplace 4-11:59 p.m. Aug. 26 and 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Aug. 27. Citizens are encouraged to park at the mall and use the free shuttle to avoid congestion in the festival area.

Accessible handicap transportation onto the island is available from the fishing platform (designated for handicap parking) on the mainland.

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