The 25-member Deloitte team paddled their way to victory on Sunday, Jul. 13, to claim this year's Dragon Festival trophy at Phalen Park. The team from Families with Children from China came in second and Mississippi Watershed Management Organization placed third. The second-place team, Dragon Families, also won the best T-shirt design contest while the Breast Cancer Survivors team, Dragon Divas, won the Best Spirit Award.
Captain of the winning team, Wenny Effendy, was elated with her team's efforts. "This is our second year of participation and I am extremely pleased with our results since we placed 11th last year! This is a fun experience for all involved, despite some sore muscles!" she said.
Festival attendance exceeded expectations. The pleasant weather conditions, though windy at times, was perfect for all the activities on and off the lake. The fruit-carving demonstration was very popular, as was the curry demonstrations. Kids were well-entertained by craft activities both at the Children's Activities area as well as at the Target booth.
A third-time Festival attendee buying a 2008 T-shirt commented to Elaine Dunn, Festival Board secretary, at the Dragon Festival merchandise booth, "This is amazing! The festival appears to be growing and attracting more diverse vendors and demonstrators. I really enjoy watching the opening ceremony where someone awakens the dragon by dotting its eyes, but always end up staying most of the day looking at the different items for sale. Today I even watched the fruit carving and part of the curry okra demonstration by Raghavan Iyer. And the aroma from the food vendors… wish I could taste a bit of everything!"
The Dragon Festival is funded by sale of festival merchandise, sponsorships (2008 sponsors were American Family Insurance, Ameriprise Financial, Asian Pages, Best Buy, Boston Scientific, China Insight, Cub Foods, Eastside Financial Center, FedEx, Honeywell, Medtronic, MHP, Northwest Airlines, QuitPlan, Shaw-Lundquist Associates, State Farm Insurance, Target and Wells Fargo) and grants (COMPAS and HRK Foundation).
Editor’s note: On Saturday Jul. 12, the sculpture, Meditation, by Lei Yixin was vandalized with threatening racist graffiti. This was hidden from the public on the second day of the Dragon Festival. In the wake of this act of hate, the community has come together in an act of unity and healing as reported by Staff Writer Will Ahern.