Dragon Boat fest brings ancient history, culture to Minocqua
By Laurie Lenten
Come Saturday, Aug. 17, the waters of Lake Minocqua will come to life with the sound of drums pounding as colorful people-powered dragon boats skim across the lake to the cheers of onlookers at the 4th Annual Minocqua Dragon Boat Festival to be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Torpy Park.
Hosted by the Howard Young Foundation, this east-meets-west team boating event, which dates back over 2,000 years in China and is rooted in political dissent, is growing in popularity throughout the country. Dragon boat racers all over the world still commemorate the historical significance of the dragon boat and Minocqua’s Dragon Boat Festival will follow suit with The Dragon Dance at the Opening Ceremony, set to begin at 8 a.m.
During the “Awakening of the Dragon” ritual, special guests “dot the eyes” of the racing boats while a 75-foot Dragon comes to life for a dynamic Dragon Dance. The ceremony is said to awaken the spirit of the dragon boats, which sleep in the mountains until they are awoken, while cleansing the area of competition and blessing the boats and their crews with the Spirit of the Dragon and the Goddess of the Sea.
Racing will get underway at 8:30 a.m. and continue throughout the day until 3:30 p.m. In addition to watching the sleek boats out on the water, spectators can spend the day enjoying a variety of festival-themed activities including:
The Forbidden City Food Court – Sample food tastes from around the world as well as water and soft drinks provided by the Minocqua Lady Lions Club on the upper level of Torpy Park. Proceeds from the Minocqua Lady Lions Club will be donated to the Howard Young Foundation. A portion of all proceeds will be donated to the Howard Young Foundation by the St. Germain Primetimers who are hosting the food court.
The Marketplace – Buy a souvenir the Minocqua Dragon Boat Festival with all proceeds donated to the Howard Young Foundation.
The Dragon Breath Beer Garden – Enjoy live music on the WXPR Main Stage in the huge festival beer garden on the upper level of Torpy Park. The Lakeland Noon Rotary Club will be serving wine and beer with a portion of the proceeds going to the Howard Young Foundation.
Children’s Activities – The Northwoods Children’s Museum will be on hand to present a variety of culturally themed hands-on interactive activities for the young “dragonlings” under the children’s activity tent.
Awards Ceremony – At 4 p.m. come celebrate the successes of the competing dragon boat teams. Awards will be presented for race winners, team spirit including best-dressed drummer, best-decorated tent, and highest pledge earner.
All proceeds from the event will go to support the work of the Howard Young Foundation to advance the health and wellness of the communities it serves.
The Minocqua Dragon Boat Festival is free and open to the public. Torpy Park is located on D Street in downtown Minocqua.
For more information on the Minocqua Dragon Boat Festival, call the Howard Young Foundation at 715-439-4005, or log onto the event’s easy tonavigate website at www.minocquadragonboat.com.
Laurie Lenten is a freelance writer who lives in Rhinelander. Her articles also appear in Northwoods Commerce, Northwoods ‘boomers and Beyond and Living on the Lake magazines.