The third annual Big Blue Dragon Boat Festival kicked off Friday evening with the opening ceremony at Copeland Park. The festivities included a dance performance, local music, and exhibition and children's races. The La Crosse Skyrockers put on a fireworks show to conclude the night starting at 9:45 p.m.
All proceeds the event raises are used in support for all those dealing with breast cancer and to provide free mammogram screenings for women in financial need. The event is also promoting the opportunity for the general public to get outside, enjoy being healthy and take in the beautiful area La Crosse has to offer.
Event co-chair Terri Pedace said it is gratifying to see all the community support for this festival.
"We are really exited that the community has really embraced this fitness activity," Pedace said. Really it's like a community gathering to celebrate being healthy and getting out around the beautiful rivers we have in the area."
Fifty total race teams will compete in Saturday's competitions. The festivities on Saturday start off with races at 8 a.m., the Breast Cancer Survivor Ceremony at 1 p.m. and concluding with the awards ceremony at 4 p.m.