Pensacola Dragon Boat Races Get Fired Up For Gulf Coast Kids House

By Wind Creek Hospitality

With historical roots dating back more than 2,000 years, the Pensacola Dragon Boat Festival is celebrating its fifth year being hosted by the Northeast Pensacola Sertoma Club. The club works to give back to the community during various events throughout the year, with the Dragon Boat Festival on Sept. 8 benefiting Gulf Coast Kid’s House and Junior Achievement.

“Through the support of the club and our key sponsors such as Wind Creek Hotel and Casino of Atmore, the Pensacola Dragon Boat Festival is Pensacola’s number one team building event where a drummer and 20 of their closest team members paddle a 43-foot paddle boat 300 meters down Bayou Texar for bragging rights,” said Bryan Morelock, director of the festival.

The festival brings together the fabric of Pensacola’s corporate and nonprofit culture for a day of fun, according to Morelock. The names for the teams reflect that fun — The Studer Group becomes the Stud-Oars, App River becomes the snAPP Dragons and Landrum HR becomes the Landrum HR Slayers.

In addition to watching up to 40 teams vie for top honors on the water, the festival will have activities for all ages to enjoy. There will be over 30 arts and crafts vendors and a kid’s area with a variety of activities, including a Ninja Warrior obstacle course.

“Over the years the festival has grown so much that we are able to educate more and more people about child abuse and its prevention in our community and, in turn, raise more funds to provide programs and services to our clients,” said Meghan Chapman, outreach and development director at Gulf Coast Kid’s House, a children’s advocacy center serving Escambia County.

“The team concept causes people who don’t know one another to interact,” said Ellen Kent, a volunteer and board member at Gulf Coast Kid’s House.

Beyond the team race, it’s an event for the whole family, she said. “It’s a pleasure to volunteer at such a fun day for the entire family while at the same time bringing awareness for Gulf Coast Kid’s House.”

While Gulf Coast Kid’s House has partnered with Sertoma on the event since the festival's inception, this year’s addition of Junior Achievement as a charity is exciting for everyone. Junior Achievement educates students in kindergarten through 12th grades about entrepreneurship, work place readiness and financial literacy using area professionals who volunteer their time.

“Junior Achievement is honored and very grateful to have become a Dragon Boat partner this year," said Ildi Hosman, president of Junior Achievement Northwest Florida. “The donation Junior Achievement receives from this event will help us to serve nearly 1,000 young people in Escambia County this school year, which equals approximately 25 percent of our annual service in the area.”

The Pensacola Dragon Boat Festival raised more than $40,000 last year and looks to top that with the upcoming races.


Wind Creek Hospitality