ST. CHARLES – With the blessing of the St. Charles City Council, dragon boat races are set to return to the Fox River this summer.
The races are planned as part of the Heart of the Fox fundraising event organized by the River Corridor Foundation of St. Charles and the St. Charles Kiwanis. The event will be held on June 13 and June 14 in Pottawatomie Park.
The dragon boat races were a highlight of the the Pride of the Fox RiverFest, which had been scaled back in recent years and renamed Festival of the Fox. The last year of the event was in 2017, as organizers of the event cancelled 2018's edition.
At their meeting Monday, aldermen unanimously approved a $22,000 funding request from the Pride of the Fox organization. Of that amount, $7,000 will fund the Bob Leonard 5K Run and Colonial Cafe Color Run and the remaining $15,000 will be utilized for the dragon boat races, city and park district fees, and various ongoing operating expenses for the Pride of the Fox organization, city finance director Chris Minick had told aldermen.
The funds will come from the proceeds of the city's hotel/motel tax revenue stream, Minick said. The requested funds would be included in the city's 2020-2021 budget, which is expected to be finalized in the upcoming weeks, he said.
This year will be the third year of the Heart of the Fox event, previously known as the Bob Leonard 5K/10K/Color Run.
"We decided to take a major step forward this year," said John Rabchuk, co-chairman of the Heart of the Fox event, in previously talking to aldermen about the decision to bring back the dragon boat races. "They've drawn a big crowd."
In addition, he noted the St. Charles Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual health and wellness fair in conjunction with the event. The Ivy Academy Kids Zone, which features an obstacle course, will return to Heart of the Fox next year after proving to be popular in its debut last year.
But organizers are dropping a tug of war competition because of a lack of participants. Besides the dragon boats, next year's Heart of the Fox event will feature other new activities, including a ninja training course for children.