By Will Ahern
Responding to the Corona Virus Pandemic, the Dragon Festival for 2020 has been cancelled.
The Dragon Festival is being reimagined as this is written. Instead of a two-day event from the past, this summer it will be one action-packed Saturday on July 11, from 8:30 a.m.-7 p.m. The new ownership and new format are meant to breathe new life and energy to the festival. Popular dragon boat races will take place all day. Other new additions are also being developed for this colorful event.
Through the 19 years of its existence, the Dragon Festival has been a solid presence celebrating diversity and cultural experience in Eastside of Saint Paul. It has brought a diverse presence to Phalen Lake through hugely popular boat races, cultural performances, authentic foods and resources for the community. At its height, attendance had been estimated at a whopping 10,000.
Permanent landmarks at the event site are now present because of the efforts of people associated with the Dragon Festival. These include the new Phalen Regional Park China Garden with the Xiang Jiang Pavilion and the beautiful “Meditation” sculpture (created and dedicated in July 2006) by Changsha artist Lei Yixin. Master Lei also carved the sculpture of Martin Luther King Jr. on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
The newly formed nonprofit is named Midwest Festivals dba as Dragon Festival. Ms. Maikhou Vang is the highly motivated new president. She is owner of the Weaving Cultures, LLC a prominent service company providing interpreter and translation services in more than 120 languages. Vang is herself an amazing success story having come to the United States at the age of 10.
Mark your calendar for an eventful day with all kinds of performances, food and fun this summer!
The event is open to anyone interested in learning more about Asian cultures and celebrations.