Whitefish Bay Kung Fu Club opened the festivities
Chinese lions dancing.
Pirate wenches wrestling. (Arghhh!)
Sweet corn, sweet potato pie, cotton candy, ice cream...
Booming bands and beer.
All this before a single Dragon Boat entered the water! What a fine start to Racine's sixth Great Midwest Dragon Boat Festival, which kicked off with a parade and a party Friday night -- a raucous, food-and-music-and-costumes affair enjoyed by hundreds at Samuel Myers Park at the Lakefront.
The event was dedicated by Chris Flynn, chairperson, to the memory of Ken Vetrovec, a member of Rotary West and a former Racine County Board chairman, who was killed this week in a motorcycle accident in Nevada. Mayor John Dickert welcomed the many out-of-town visitors, and urged them to enjoy themselves, spend all their money here and then paddle safely home.
On Saturday, the 45 teams of rowers will take to the water -- rain or shine, in most conditions, says the event website -- from about 8 a.m. until the championship race at about 5 p.m. Best viewing is from Simonsen Park, along the hill on Main Street between Sixteenth and Fourteenth Streets.