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 community dinner into a glitzy affair.
“We thought it would be fun to have a dress-up event,” said Jennifer Loo, Marketing and Community Relations for Fairway Market.
The time 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 Chinese New Year and 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 said.
Hosts Tony Joe and Astrid Braunschmidt transport guests back to the 1930s for a glamorous red carpet 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 fun Asian 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 said of the sport. “You just have to want to be with a great group of people. That’s it.”
The 15-day celebration of the lunar new year begins Feb. 5. The Meet Me In Shanghai for Chinese New Year fundraising gala is Feb. 9 at the Ocean Point Resort and Spa.
Visit victoriadragonboat.com/festival/shanghai/ for ticket information.