One of the most exciting community events held at Mercer County Park in West Windsor is Paddle for Pink Dragon Boat Festival, hosted by the Machestic Dragons, New Jersey’s first breast cancer survivors’ dragon boat team. Paddle for Pink is New Jersey’s largest community Dragon Boat Festival, and 2013 celebrates the seventh anniversary of fun at Mercer County Park. This is the first year the event will be held on a Saturday, and takes place on June 8, 2013. The site of the festival has also moved eastward to a new area of Mercer Lake at the Finish Tower Field Area between the Marina and Tennis Courts. Each year the event has grown in participation and support resulting in the need for this grand new site for 2013.

Community participation makes this festival special. Last year 45 teams competed in the exciting races, and the Machestics invite you to form a team to compete in the fun. Twenty paddlers make up a dragon boat team and race against other teams in their category. Teams of educators, neighbors and friends, students, business sponsored teams, semi-professionals, and teams compiled of all women make up this potpourri of fun lovers that will compete for medals and bragging rights while helping to support this charitable cause. Last year eight breast cancer survivor teams gathered from the tri-state region, and in 2013 we welcome back four of those teams already registered early to take advantage of the discounted early bird price.

Early bird team registration for PFP is $825. after April 30 the team fee is $900. Not enough paddlers for a team? Register as a group or individual, and we will put you with a team. See our website for details. All registered teams may schedule one practice on the water with coaching and equipment provided by the Machestics. A free gift to commemorate this event will be distributed to all paddlers at Paddle for Pink.

The festival benefits local families affected by breast cancer, and BCRC, Breast Cancer Resource Center of Princeton, remains one of the charity benefactors of the festival. To date the Machestics have donated $50,000 to BCRC to support free services provided to breast cancer patients and survivors.

On land enjoy music, dance, entertainment, and food. Vendors may reserve a space to support this cause. There will be a 50/50 raffle, silent auction, cultural dance, and ceremonies.

The Machestic Dragons welcome volunteer hands-on support from organizations and individuals as well as donations to make this festival fruitful. Machestics’ president, Carol Watchler, invites you to visit www.machesticdragons.org to get a better understanding of what the Machestic Dragons represent, or call Annie at 609-291-0779.

All registration information for Paddle for Pink is at www.paddleforpink.org or call 609-448-2100 (messages only).

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