Alcan Dragon Boat Festival
At Concord Pacific Place and
Plaza of Nations (Vancouver)
June 19-21, 1998
This year, the Canadian International Dragon Boat Festival celebrated its tenth anniversary, with its new partner, Alcan BC. Thus, the new designation "Alcan Dragon Boat Festival". Changes this year included a return to the Plaza of Nations, the site where the Festival originally began in 1989. An added site feature is the newly finished Cooper's Park with its finished seawall, walkway and a grassy park environment which perfectly complements the festivities. Jugglers, clowns and vendors selling toy dragons were there again enjoying the sun which was gracious to be out during the first weekend of summer, particularly on Father's Day.
The Dragon boat races was naturally the highlight of the Festival, although there were so many things happening: Fun, Games and Adventures for the kids, "the little dragons", included the Alcan Dragon Den where youngsters searched for dragon remains; there was the Little Dragon Story Theatre by Discovery Theatre captivating the kids with legends, fairytales, and myths with the likes of Gerardo Avila, Pat Carfra, Max Tell and Dancing Bear.
Cross-Cultural Sharing has been a main feature of the Dragonboat Festival. Musical groups like the African Alpha Yaya Diallo, Flamenco guitarists Andre Thibeault & Pierre Imbert, Brazil's Axe Capoiera, Caribbean music from Bounty Hunta & The Mutineers, Afro-Caribberan rhythms from the music of Kumbia, the Latin American groups "Locos Bravos" and "Rumba Calzada", and the Scotish group The Tiller's Folly all grace the Plaza of Nations stage during this weekend.
Honoured guest Philippine Consul General Lourdes Morales presented a special ceremony commemorating the 100th anniversary of Filipino Independence with members of the Vancouver Filipino community performing traditional dances like the "Tinikling" and "Rigodon de honor" on June 21st.
It was an enjoyable weekend. I, for one, enjoyed taking pictures of the races during the Saturday events on the media boat, and the entire family not only enjoyed the races but also the cultural shows and the kiddie events. It was truly a festival for the whole family to enjoy, and I again look forward to attending it next year. It gets better each year!
Copyright 1998 Ed Farolan