13th Annual Dragon Festival will celebrate culture and outdoor fun at Lake Phalen

Colorful lion dancers will be among the performers at the 13th Annual Dragon Festival at Lake Phalen Park on Saturday and Sunday. (submitted photo)
Dragon boats compete for titles. (submitted photo)
Colorful lion dancers will be among the performers at the 13th Annual Dragon Festival at Lake Phalen Park on Saturday and Sunday. (submitted photo)
Colorful lion dancers will be among the performers at the 13th Annual Dragon Festival at Lake Phalen Park on Saturday and Sunday. (submitted photo)
Activities will be set up for kids. (submitted photo)
Activities will be set up for kids. (submitted photo)

The 2015 Dragon Festival, inspired by the Asian tradition of dragon-boat races, has added modern touches for a more interactive, hands-on experience that draws on all the senses.

The 13th annual festival will take place Saturday and Sunday, July 11-12, at Lake Phalen, with an estimated 15 to 20 teams competing in spirited heats of 200 meters each day.

Each team consists of 20 members -- 18 paddlers, one flag catcher and one drummer -- who collectively train for weeks and must work as a cohesive, high-energy unit.

Prizes are awarded for daily champion, race champion, best team spirit and best team.

The festival at Lake Phalen Park also includes the Do Walk/Do Run 5K around the lake starting at 9 a.m. Saturday. The race begins at the Phalen Park Pavilion, and participants receive a T-shirt, bottled water and fresh fruit. The race is sponsored by Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Minnesota, and runners can register at the festival website.

Each morning from 10 to 10:30 a.m. there will be the "Oohs, Aahs, and Pride Opening Ceremony" with performances and demonstrations focusing on Asian and Pacific cultures. Martial arts demonstrations will take place from 11:45 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Special children's arts and crafts will be offered Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. In addition to storytime, the kids will get to try out kite flying, Frisbee and air golf.

Foods from around the world will be available, as will an Asian-inspired marketplace from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Parking at Lake Phalen is limited, and shuttle buses will run every 20 minutes from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Shuttle bus sites are: the Highway 61 and County Road C Park & Ride lot; Johnson High School, 1349 Arcade St.; Bureau of Criminal Apprenhension, 1430 E. Maryland Ave.; and Gustavus Adolphus Lutheran Church, 1669 Arcade St. (11 a.m. late start on Sunday).

For a complete performance schedule, go to: www.dragonfestival.org.

 

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