MINOCQUA - The dragon boat festival returned to Minocqua with a new sense of purpose: to try and complete a project started at last year's races.
The Howard Young Foundation uses the dragon boat festival to raise money for a new tick-borne illness center.
Minocqua's dragon boat races serve as one of the biggest fundraisers for Howard Young.
The 21 teams who signed up this year raised more than $10,000 in registration fees alone.
"We get emails, messages, any way people can contact us, about their story that they'd like to share about how they've been impacted by tick-borne illness," site coordinator Elizabeth Gering said. "Its been overwhelming and so it really pushes us to make this center a reality."
Rowers came from 13 different states to take part in the festival.
Anyone and everyone showed up, from first-timers to skilled rowers.
Skill level wasn't the only way that the teams were different.
"We have paddlers of all ages, from 15 to 86, so it's really something that all people of all athletic abilities," festival organizer Gami Miller said.