Eau Claire (WQOW)- The annual Half Moon Dragon Festival brought in thousands of people to raise awareness and funds to support local cancer programs.
Renelle Laffe, the founder of Hope in the Valley said around 8,000 people showed up for the event, while a little over 1,000 people participated in the boat race.
Fifty- two teams raced a 250-meter course on Halfmoon Lake, each boat has 20 paddlers.
Laffe said the money raised will go to local cancer programs like Joshua’s Camp, The Wig Bank, the American Cancer Society and Mayo Clinic Health Systems’ Cancer Center.
"It’s a camaraderie of coming together to give back in the Chippewa Valley. It is incredible to see what the teams do and to talk to each other and get to know each other because everybody’s been touched by cancer indirectly or directly at some points in our lives," said Laffe.
Laffe said each year they try to expand the festival a little more, and this year they added a food truck challenge to get even more people out to the event.
Laffe also noted that many prizes are being given out Friday, some of the prizes are for first place, team spirit, the top team fundraiser and best food truck.