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11th Colorado Dragon Boat Festival "Gambare" Japan: Hope for Relief

The Colorado Dragon Boat Festival will celebrate its 11th year on July 30 and 31, 2011 at Sloan's Lake Park in Denver and this year you'll have the opportunity to send 'hope' to Japan. Having lived in Japan for 3 years (and having participated in Dragon Boat races and festivals while there), I can personally say that this is one event that you'll not want to miss. Why? The CDBF is the largestpan-Asian festival between the Midwest and West Coast and is the premiere summertime family event in the region!

Colorado Dragon Boat Festival is an annual event every summer in Denver.
Colorado Dragon Boat Festival is an annual event every summer in Denver.
The Colorado Dragon Boat Festival is the only summertime family festival with an Asian flair — and adorable scenes like this.
Kit Williams / Colorado Dragon Boat Festival

There will be traditional and cultural performances, educational exhibits and demonstrations with fun shopping and dining at the Asian Marketplace and Taste of Asia Food Court. And of course, there will be two days of action-packed dragon boat racing! (See slideshow of last year's fun)

This year's theme will be "Gambare" Japan which means "persevere" in Japanese. The CDBF will highlight the country throughout the festival with symbolic colors, origami cranes, and a traditional Japanese ceremony. There will also be a special fundraiser held for the victims of the tsunami.

"Even before the tragic earthquake and tsunami, we had planned on showcasing Japan in our Gateway to Asia educational area," says festival Executive Director Erin Yoshimura. "Now it's especially poignant, because the country will need support from around the world for many months. The CDBF family reaches out to everyone in the local Japanese and Japanese American communities who have families or friends who were affected."

What can you expect at this year's festival?

Dragon Boat Races
This year, 51 teams (including the community pickup team), will compete on Sloan's Lake, with competitive, recreational and youth divisions. In 2010, there were 48 teams. For the first time, more than 80 percent of the 2011 race team slots have already been filled. Registration ends on May 1st.

Gateway to Asia
Gateway to Asia features more intimate performances than the Main Stage. Audience members can get up close and personal with performers. Gateway to Asia also showcases interactive educational exhibits, which focus on specific Asian Pacific communities. Representatives in traditional clothing introduce you to their culture and history, and explain the arts and artifacts on display. Last year, a new area called "Find Zen" was launched as part of Gateway to Asia to showcase some of the many ways that traditional Asian cultures promote healthy lifestyles and relive stress. This year a stage has been added to Gateway to Asia that will feature both "Find Zen" techniques and a focus on Martial Arts demonstrations.

Since the very first Colorado Dragon Boat Festival, an area for children as been a part of the festival so they can be introduced to Asian cultures with fun activities, guided by volunteers from such organizations as Girl Scouts and the Denver Art Museum. For 2011, CDBF is proud to announce a new Dragonland stage that will feature children's performers and storytellers to enhance the "edutainment" available for the youngest festival goers.

Festival dates and location:
: Saturday and Sunday, July 30-31
Location: Sloan's Lake Park, 25th Ave. & Sheridan Blvd, Denver

What's the cost of admission? Admission is free!

For more info, go to:


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