The 2018 Dragon Boat Festival has been cancelled

The 2018 Dragon Boat Festival has been cancelled
(Source: WTOL)

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - The 2018 Dragon Boat Summer Learning Festival is cancelled. It was supposed to take place in late July.

The event has been drawing large crowds downtown for more than a decade benefiting Partners in Education, a service assisting Toledo Public Schools students.

The group is citing construction happening in International Park for the hiatus. The Toledo Waterways Initiative project has taken longer than expected because of weather delays.

Dynamic Dragon Boat LLC, the event company in charge of the festival says the harmful algal bloom season is a concern as well.

In years past, they've raised $20,000 to $30,000 for their mission.

"We understand the organization has concerns about the construction, we think that once the construction is over that it will be a better International Park, a better downtown, a better east Toledo, so it's one of those things like yes, we have to make some sacrifice in the short term for a long term goal," said Ignazio Messina, the spokesperson for the City of Toledo.

There were 22 paddlers packed into Hong Kong style boats, and 25 teams participated last year.

Michelle Klinger, the Executive Director of Partners in Education said the group looked into other places on the river like Middlegrounds Metropark or Promenade Park, but because of wake and river traffic, it wasn't feasible.

The event originally was created to bring neighbors downtown, but Klinger says, downtown is thriving even without it.

Councilwoman Dr. Cecelia Adams said she remembers hearing about the festival when she working with TPS, she says everyone involved looked forward to it every year.

"It would be a shame if it didn't take place, I would hope that we could find another way we could still make it happen," said Dr. Adams.

Klinger said it is still up in the air if the event will happen next year, the group plans on still holding mini summer learning festivals around the city this summer.

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