Source: Sherman Publications

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Decorate your boat and enjoy the ride

August 14, 2013

Lake Orion will be awash with color and light to kick off festivities for Dragon on the Lake on Friday, August 23. That's when lake dwellers decorate their boats and follow a fire breathing dragon for a 2-hour parade around Lake Orion.

It's the fourth year for the event. New this year, participants will compete for $400 in cash prizes, courtesy of Ray C's Extreme Store, a festival sponsor.

"We have five surprise, distinguished judges this year," says Jerry Richards, president of the Lake Orion Lake Association which organizes the event. "They'll be looking for creativity, use of lighting and eye appeal,"

Last year Hank DeSamper's light encrusted creation 'Dragonritaville' sailed away with top honors. The boat was covered with hundreds of lights, palm trees, and topped with its own fire breathing dragon.

"There was a long history of parades on Lake Orion that lapsed," says LOLA Board Member George Hanley, "With Dragon on the Lake, we thought it would be a great way to revive the tradition to bring the lake community, the village and township together to kick off a big weekend."

The Lighted Boat Parade begins at dusk at Pelton's Point, a good location to see the boats up close. Spectators fill the shoreline around the lake and undecorated boats are also welcome to watch the parade from the water.

In addition to monetary prizes, the first place winner's name will be engraved on a cup and given a plaque, both now on display at the Orion Township Library.

Also on view is the 3 foot dragon statue awarded to the winners of the dragon boat races.

In true Stanley Cup tradition, the first place team keeps the trophy until a new Dragon Boat champion is crowned. That honor was also claimed by DeSamper's Island Bombers last year.

In other festival news: Hollywood Market and 51 North Brewery are now selling Baby Dragon raffle tickets for the event. The baby "dragons" are launched into Paint Creek from Children's Park at 5 pm on Sunday, August 25th, at the end of the festival. Each ticket corresponds to the number on a duck. The first ducks that make it to the finish in Meeks Park are the winners. First prize is $599.

Also, organizers are still welcoming volunteers to staff the festival. "It's a great way for high school students to fulfill their community service requirement," said Lauren Dinneweth, Director of the Orion Art Center which produces the event. "We have many students who sign up for more than one shift and have a lot of fun." Shifts typically run four hours. Volunteers help with setup, clean up, parking and information booths. They also receive complimentary tickets to the Michigan Renaissance Festival.

For more information visit or call the Orion Art Center at (248)693-4986.