This weekend is the 16th Annual Colorado Dragon Boat Festival in Sloan’s Lake. July 30 and 31st, Sloan’s Lake will be buzzing with lots of family-friendly events. The Colorado Dragon Boat Festival is the largest dragon boat festival in the nation, beating out long-time running festivals in major cities like New York, Boston, Houston, Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco! Held right here in our own backyard, the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival has more than 20 food vendors with authentic Asian cuisine, a giant marketplace of Asian gifts, artisans and a Wellness Village. There’s also a children’s area dedicated to teaching kids about the Asian culture, and five stages with tons of performances. And of course, the event that started it all: dragon boat races galore!
Enjoy Chinese fan dances, amazing martial arts demonstrations and full band performances with music that goes beyond traditional Asian culture and includes rock, folk, funk, punk, blues, jazz and R&B. There are performances for everyone to enjoy. Stroll through the Wellness Village for some useful health and wellness tips. Free health screenings are also available, so you can take charge of your health while enjoying the festivities.
Explore Dragonland with the kids. This is a great way to introduce them to the Asian culture. Dragonland was created with kids in mind and is a great place for kids to learn a few things while having a great time. Mask and fan decorating and face painting is available as well as interactive games like bean bag toss, balloon fishing and horse shoes.
The festival kicks off with the “Awakening of the Dragon Ceremony”. Tradition since the first races, the ceremony is a spiritual ritual that includes chants from Buddhist monks to awaken the spirit of the dragon within the boats. All who compete in the races are also blessed during the ceremony. The “Awakening of the Dragon Ceremony” will awaken a 75 foot dragon bringing it to life for the Dragon Dance. The opening ceremony also includes a parade where race teams can display their spirit not only for their teams, but their communities as well.
Of course you will want to make time to catch the event that started it all – the dragon boat races! Grab some delicious food from the Taste of Asia food courts and head over to the lake for the main event. The event first began 16 years ago to celebrate Denver’s diverse Asian communities. Organizers at the time had no idea the dragon boat races would become such a popular event. With over 50 teams expected to race this weekend, there will be plenty of excitement to see! The ancient sport of dragon boat racing is over 2,000 years old and carries out the tradition of keeping the spirit of Chu Yuan alive. Chu Yuan was an aid to the Emperor, who ultimately sacrificed his life to honor his emperor. His sacrifice is still honored today at each dragon boat celebration.
With so much action taking place this weekend at Sloan’s Lake, you will have plenty of entertainment. This award winning festival is one you will not want to miss this summer. And since you will be nearby, be sure to stop by our Edgewater location. Share your favorite things about the dragon boat festival with us. And don’t forget, we’re open late.