South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

Dragon Boat Festival move to May


April 28, 2009

On Saturday, May 16 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. the eighth annual Pittsburgh Dragon Boat Festival will be celebrated in South Side's Riverfront Park.

The festival, formerly held in September, is moving to May to correspond with the celebration of Asian and Pacific Americans Heritage Month, nationally proclaimed in 1992 by President George H. W. Bush. Joining the event this year will be the festivities surrounding Asian American Heritage Day.

“We are very excited that Asian American Heritage Day will be joining us this year,” comments organizer Arlene Krava. “This is the largest celebration of Asian Americans in the Pittsburgh region, and the melding of these two events means the public will be able to experience more Asian cultures than ever before.”

Cultural groups representing the Asian or Pacific nations of China, Taiwan, Japan, India, Tuva/Mongolia, the Philippines, Thailand, Korea, Indonesia, Singapore, Bangladesh and Vietnam are expected to attend this year's event.

Stage performances will include the ever-popular Lion Dance, Shaolin Kung Fu, and folk dances presented in traditional colorful costumes. The stage will also feature Tuvan Khoomei (throatsinging), or the ability to carry two musical lines simultaneously, and erhu artistry by the famed Mimi Jong.

Kids can visit the Westinghouse Electric Company Children's Area to participate in arts and crafts - or sit in on Storytelling, compliments of State Farm Insurance. All children's activities are free.

Along the Dragon Stroll shoppers will find gemstone jewelry, Asian-inspired textiles, and more. Cultural displays will include Japanese kimonos, Ikebana (Japanese flower arranging), and Thai intricate fruit and vegetable carvings. And throughout the day, visitors will be able to take part in traditional T'ai Chi demonstrations, or vie for prizes at the Wheeling Island Hotel, Racetrack and Casino booth.

Dragon boating will return compliments of Steel City Dragons. Two authentic dragon boats will be on site from 1 to 4 p.m. Each boat can hold 20 paddlers, a drummer, and a steersperson. To sign up for a time slot, visit the Steel City Dragons tent situated near the public docks, then come into the park to enjoy the festival.

Traditional cuisine from China, India and the Philippines will be available, plus many local organizations will offer dumplings, bubble tea, and other favorites.

The mission of the Pittsburgh Dragon Boat Festival is to bring Eastern and Western cultures together to promote a greater understanding and appreciation of the Asian diversity within the Pittsburgh region. The event is free to the public and provides handicapped access and facilities.

For additional information, and for information on all Asian and Pacific Americans Heritage Month activities, visit http://www.PittsburghDragon


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