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The race is on to find paddlers and sponsors for the area’s only event that combines friendly competition with ancient transportation.

From 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 20, a flotilla of 40-foot-long dragon boats will embark from Riverside Park in downtown Oshkosh for the third-annual Oshkosh Community Dragon Boat Race and Festival. Last year, 45 teams of 20 paddlers competed for medals, trophies — and bragging rights.

The Oshkosh Community Dragon Boat Race and Festival is just one component of UW Oshkosh’s Fall Fest on the Fox weekend, which celebrates the campus community by building bridges between the public and the University’s faculty, staff and students. Other Fall Fest events include a fish fry and open art gallery on Sept. 19 and Breakfast with the Chancellor on Sept. 20.

Cosponsored by the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh and the Oshkosh Area YMCA, the Dragon Boat Race and Festival celebrates the community and its culture, education, family and the city’s waterways.

“We are thrilled with the ongoing camaraderie exhibited by the returning rival teams, and we look forward to welcoming new paddlers to this fun, unique competition,” said Kate Unger, Reeve Memorial Union marketing director. “With more family-friendly activities added to The Dragon Boat Race and Festival, we expect an even greater turnout this year than in the past.”

The cost to register is $750 per team of 20 or $850 after July 1. Teams will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Volunteers also are needed for both the practice weekend and the day of the festival to fill such roles as boat marshals, spotters, registration managers, results runners and food workers.

For companies looking to collaborate with the festival, a variety of sponsorship levels are available — from on-site banners and booths to trophies and races named after a business or organization.

“Events like the Oshkosh Community Dragon Boat Race and Festival help showcase the opportunities that are available in our downtown area and waterfront,” said Jeff Schneider, Oshkosh Area YMCA vice president. “However, the event could not take place without the generosity of our sponsors. We welcome all area businesses to show their support for the community by getting involved.”