Despite the overcast skies above and a little chill on the waters of Octagon Pond in Paradise Saturday, there was plenty of pink and happiness and joy there during the morning and afternoon.
The occasion was the Town of Paradise and Avalon Dragons’ fourth annual festival, “Paddle In Paradise,” which saw 14 community and corporate teams racing down Octagon Pond in dragon boats. The race was a fundraiser for the Conception Bay South food bank and Avalon Dragons boat racing club.
The day also featured various activities for children, with onstage performances such as a dragon boat dancer, a children’s themed show and musical entertainment provided by the Celtic Fiddlers, YYT, the Edison Lane Band and the Best of the Brits Band. There were also concession stands, games of chance, bouncy castles, face painting and prize giveaways throughout the day.
Unfortunately, Saturday night’s planned fireworks had to be cancelled due to weather earlier in the day and lingering nighttime fog around the pond.
Members of the Avalon Dragons participated in “Flowers on the Water,” a ceremony of remembrance to honour all those who have lost their battle with breast cancer, those who are still living with the disease and those who are in remission.
Led by current chair of the Avalon Dragon Boating club and breast cancer survivor Julie Bettney, a former Mount Pearl city councillor and MHA, the ceremony, through words of prayer and song and reflection, saw its participants assemble on land and water for emotional support for one other holding pink carnations, representing those who have experienced breast cancer and particularly those who have succumbed to this disease.
Following the ceremony, Bettney encouraged those to toss their carnation onto the free-flowing waters of Octagon Pond to “reflect on how the lives and loved ones have touched us, how we have bonded together to combat breast cancer and help those survivors live active, rewarding lives. We also honour all those who are no longer with us; friends, strangers, mothers, grandmothers, aunts, nieces, sisters, partners and lovers.”
Here are some of the sights captured through the lenses of Telegram photojournalist Joe Gibbons at dockside, during the flower ceremony and on the water capturing moments in the Second Chance Race, thanks to the Rovers Search & Rescue unit rescue craft boat.
Text and photos by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram