In its Feb. 16 editorial, “Augusta’s forecast: a ‘cooling’ trend,” The Augusta Chronicle echoed a recent survey that found area residents “are starved for more events, particularly festivals revolving around food and music.”
There are several factors in growing these events; chief among them is the community’s support.
Goodwill and its partners have built one such festival here in Augusta, and on May 6 we again invite the community to a family event that “revolves around food and music,” along with celebrating the city’s robust Asian culture.
GoodBoats for Goodwill has been held on Augusta’s Lake Olmstead since 2012, and each event offers area residents the rare opportunity to see and participate in spectacular dragon boat races like those that originated more than 2,500 years ago in China. While competitors “paddle for a purpose” at this annual fundraiser for Helms College, those on land can enjoy Asian food and cultural presentations, children’s activities and a wide variety of vendors.
These events don’t just create themselves; the best ones, such as GoodBoats, depend on partnerships that build the festival’s character. Goodwill works with the Augusta Chinese Association and the Augusta Rowing Club to organize activities on land and water, and in recent years the Philippine American Association of the CSRA and the Korean Catholic Community of St. Joseph have joined to offer an amazing array of Asian food. The Augusta Sports Council provides valuable support for the event, along with vital sponsors who each year underwrite GoodBoat’s expenses to keep festival attendance free to the public.
The media, including The Chronicle, play a major role. We’re grateful that The Chronicle and other local media have sponsored GoodBoats in recent years; for any organization such as Goodwill to take the leap of faith required to establish and operate such major events requires the media’s help in publicizing them.
After all those pieces come together, it’s the members of the community who determine the success of any event and thus encourage the creation of more festivals.
If Augusta residents want more of the “cool” factor for their community, then their attendance is the tangible encouragement that organizations such as Goodwill need to continue providing these events that help make this area a great place to live, work and raise a family.
Learn more about GoodBoats for Goodwill at goodboats.org, and we’ll see you at Lake Olmstead on May 6!
North Augusta, S.C.
(The writer is chairman of the GoodBoats for Goodwill organizing committee, and chairman of the Goodwill Works Foundation Board of Directors.)