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August 16, 2016
The 7th Annual Oriental Dragon Boat Festival had 16 teams, honors for a 90 year old drummer, a heat index of 105, and one marriage proposal.Boats near the finish line in the 2016 Dragon Boat race at River Dunes.
A team of Marines from MCAS Cherry Point, dubbed “The Neuse Winds Freedom Riders,” won the Military Division, while “Hope Floats” won the Cancer Survivor Division and The Knights from Riverside High School in Williamston won the Community Division.Did facepaint provide an edge? Marines from MCAS Cherry Point, the Neuse Winds Freedom Riders celebrate winning the military division.As she has in all 7 years of the Dragon Boat racing, Fran Deaton Bennett beat a drum to provide the Deaton’s team its cadence. She started dragon boat drumming in 2010 at the age of 84.
This year the festival paid tribute to 90-year old Fran Deaton Bennett who has drummed for the Deatons’ boatyard team in all 7 years of the festival. Perched on the narrow bow of the tender boat, she has become a familiar sight at the races.Fran Deaton Bennett with her son John and his wife Karen as Festival organizer Flora Moorman makes the presentation.
Some charitable contributions were also presented. River Dunes gave $1,500 to Heartworks, the Bayboro based organization that provides care and activities to hundreds of Pamlico County children. (In addition to this dragon boat event, River Dunes will be hosting Heartworks’ HarborFest/Oriental Cup Regatta in September.) First Citizens Bank donated $1,000 to the Pamlico Community Foundation.Three boats come paddling in. (Photo: Chris Mojica)As the 20 paddlers head to the starting line, the team drummer, Jalyn Dunn sets the cadence.Winners of the Community Division, the Riverside Knights from Williamston. The bite test, at left, likely revealed it was not real gold in the medals.During a break in the racing. Piggly Wiggly owner Billy Flockhart proposed marriage to Elizabeth Balte. She said yes.”
Posted Tuesday August 16, 2016 by Ben Casey
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