The Edmonton Dragon Boat Festival Association wrapped up its 14th year on the North Saskatchewan River yesterday, and its director of race operations is already looking forward to next year’s 15th anniversary.

“This year we really elevated our levels in so many areas,” Darcy Hicks said.

Boasting a brand new fleet, new sanctioning as a national qualifier race and 49 different boats, the festival keeps getting bigger.

Paddlers competed in a 500-metre and 2,000-metre race over the weekend, with plenty of partying in between.

“We moved things down (towards the river) this year so that people can actually enjoy themselves in the beer gardens and in their tents and be right on the finish line,” Hicks said.

“We’re really proud of that.”

Hicks said next year will be even better with teams coming from all over Canada and a heightened standard of racing.

“Look out,” she said. “Our new boats have sliced times and we can hardly wait.”

New teams are welcome to participate and the association provides coaching and steering clinics.

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