Source: Sherman Publications

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Dragon on the Lake expands

by Gabriel L. Ouzounian

August 01, 2012

The group from L.A. Dance carry their dragon through Children’s Park during the 2011 Dragon on the Lake Festival. Photo submitted.
Lake Orion is counting down the days to the annual Dragon on the Lake festival and judging from the additions mentioned by Strategic Planner James Jenkins, it's going to be bigger and better than ever before.

Nearly every area has been moved and changed for the better, with more activities, amenities and attractions. The areas, which include Extreme Zone, Kidz Zone, the Art Center, the Dragon Boat Races and more are all integrated more into the downtown area, which helps to show off the downtown businesses and promote easier access from guests and vendors alike. On top of it, each "zone" has seen improvements.

"Rayc's Extreme Zone, which is sponsored by the Lapeer power sports provider, is the old Teen Zone and features all things extreme," said Jenkins. "It's all about the inflatables - things like the velcro wall where you jump on a trampoline and launch into a wall wearing a velcro vest or the inflatable joust where people stand on a stump and hit each other with giant inflatable sticks. We went away from Teen Zone because it really does feature all things extreme and people of all ages will be able to enjoy it."

Other features of the Extreme Zone are a water balloon fight, inflatable boxing, a dirt bike area where people will get to try out a 50cc bike in a safe area, a remote control area, flight simulators and more. On top of it, The Detroit Pistons Hoop Truck will return and bring with it the Automation Dance Team.

Hooper the mascot will also appear alongside the Piston's DJ.

Kidz Zone will also feature inflatbles, including bounce houses, a moon walk, an inflatable maze, a 20-foot-tall slide and a bungie race. Three craft stations will be on site as will llama rides, a photo booth, 15 vendors, a sand play place and an early childhood development center where small children can be left in care for up to an hour for free.

"The Oakland County Park Showmobile stage will put on two full days of programming with all kinds of different acts from local singers to clowns to comedians to kid focused bands and more," said Orion Art Center Director Lauren Dinneweth. "Local kids will be featured as well as the people from the School of Rock in Rochester."

For adults looking for a more relaxed atmosphere, the Lake Orion Village municipal lot will host the Dragon Pub, snack and drink vendors, smoothies, lemonade, Culver's Buffalo Wild Wings, cajun food, pizza, homemade soda and more. The main stage for performances is also in the municipal lot and will feature local bands "We Three She" and 51 N. Brewing Company Owner Don Gindhart's band. A Michigan based jam band called Covert Operations will appear alongside jam band Rusted Root, culminating with an 80s-themed block party featuring the Square Pegs.

Ed's Gifts, from downtown Lake Orion, will sponsor a costume contest for best 80s outfit with $300 in prizes available.

The Art Center itself will also house some events, including demonstrations of carving, sculpting and more. All different kinds of art will also be on display. The Art Center will also be home to a relaxation tent for families that want to get out of the sun and sit to eat, drink and relax.

Despite the plethora of activities and events, the Dragon on the Lake festival remains mostly free.

"There are a few things that cost money, like the food and beverages but the bands and just about everything else is free," said Dinneweth. "This is what makes it a true community festival. We're excited to move into the downtown this year and involve Lake Orion businesses to highlight our community. It's a benefit to the community, its fun, its affordable and there is something for everyone."

McLaren Cancer Institute is the title sponsor of the 2012 Dragon on the Lake.