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“We couldn’t hardly pick up a gum wrapper,” he said. “The place was immaculate, people were very respectful of the property. That really surprised us; we expected more like a setting after the fair. It was very encouraging and a real compliment to the valley.”
The dragon boat event presented the Flathead Valley at its best in many ways, but it also gave a tremendous amount back to the valley. Estimates from the Kalispell Convention and Visitors Bureau are that the event generated at least half a million dollars for the local economy, given a 4,000-plus guess at attendance numbers.
Proceeds from the event went to Save A Sister, which promotes breast cancer awareness in the Flathead Valley. Diane Medler, director of the visitors bureau, said that she received countless positive responses to the event, with many affirming remarks on the event Facebook page.
Twenty of the 56 teams were from out of the area, and Medler said she heard “an overwhelming positive response from the teams who traveled here. They were so enamored of Flathead Lake and the Flathead Lake Lodge and the friendliness of the people in Montana,” she said. “One of the teams from Lethbridge said they’ll be back next year and they’ll be bringing other teams.”