By Ilean Her
Saturday, July 14 dawned with sunlight and a promise of hotter than usual weather. By 8:00 am, staff and volunteers of the Dragon Festival were busy triaging between the do.® walk 5K Walk Around Lake Phalen walkers, vendors, and dragon boat race participants directing them where to go, how to set up, and do all the things needed to kick-start, greet, and or serve at another festival. There was confusion, lots of noises and activity, but in the midst of all this, there was a unifying hum by all involved to do their best to make this Dragon Festival the most successful it’s ever been.
The Dragon Festival officially started with an Opening Ceremony at 11:00 am with a dragon dance, drumming, and parade provided by Korean Traditional Music Association with Jang Mi and Hui’s Lucky Dragon. And shortly thereafter, dragon boats were off and racing on Lake Phalen. 25 boat racing teams, sponsored by local companies and nonprofit organizations participated with teams competing for best time, best overall times, and best team spirit awards. In a move popular with the festival attendees, pre-trial and official races ran the length of both days.
By Noon on Saturday, the Dragon Festival was in full swing and did not stop until Sunday evening. Attendance is estimated at 12,000.
Modern and traditional renderings of music, dance, and song from various Asian and Pacific Islander ethnic groups were featured on the Cultural Performance Stage. In the Martial Arts Demonstration Area, more than a dozen differing schools along with their masters and students demonstrated the many forms and styles of martial arts among them are karate, judo, tai chi, kung-fu. Audience members were drawn in and taught basic skills by some of the schools.
Families had opportunities to view and or directly engage in activities that educate and teach about the cultures and experiences of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders at the Target tent, the WellsFargo Children Activities Tent, and or the Council’s “Reading Together” tent.
Every festival is a new festival with new experiences and memories. Thank you all for partaking in the Dragon Festival this year. Your continued attendance, participation and support are invaluable to the festival’s success. July 2013 will mark the 10th Anniversary of the Dragon Festival in Phalen Park. As I look forward, I call out to dedicated volunteers and past committee members who love and cherish the Dragon Festival to join us on the planning committee. We need your time, talent, and energy to plan a special and truly best ever Dragon Festival.
Save the Date: July 13 & 14, 2013 – 10th Dragon Festival Anniversary
For more information about Dragon Festival please visit www.dragonfestival.org