Saturday, August 12, 2017

Wendy Dragon

The Dragon Boat races have moved from September on the Cuyahoga (click) to August on Lake Erie at Wendy Park. This was a great move: easier location to get to, better parking, free parking, easier boat loading ramp, no commercial boat traffic to interfere, dog friendliness, tree shade, some benches, closer viewing of the race, better atmosphere and scenery, more grass/less asphalt.This was the eleventh running in Cleveland.
 
It starts with a blessing of the Buddhas of the four directions, and painting of the dragon eyes. The Buddhist priest, Shih Ying-Fa, has done this for several years, and he has a good sense of humour. He referred to his robe as a parachute.

This was dog friendly. In the foreground are the three ceremonial dragon heads. A man is holding, Oscar, a ten month old dachshund. We met Lola the golden retriever, Melania the old English sheepdog-pitbull mix pup, Pippa the short legged pit bull mix pup, a barking Niko, and other dogs were also attending.
This year the heats had two boats paddle 250 yards, they used to have three go at 500 yards. Start was near where the harbor to the Coast Guard Station had been (this year, the structure has been repaired, and painted, received doors and windows, and some plantings in front).
 A crew has a drum beating coxswain, twenty paddlers, and a tillerman.
 
 People and hound viewing from the sandy strand, with the lighthouse in the distance.
 
 The coxswain here is dressed as a Roman legionnaire.
 Here a boat is paddling past the volleyball pits, toward the start.
There were two rounds of seven heats in the morning. Perhaps, when the first heat was loading, the dee-jay played "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald". I think, the last heat, a boat swamped itself before reaching the start. By this time, we were waiting for Yume Daiko Taiko Japanese drumming (next post). There was a third round, and a pair of trophy races in the afternoon.
Three of the teams were breast cancer survivors. This is a sport taken nationally by these groups of women. This woman was her team's coxswain. Her cape reads: Hell yes, they're fake. Our real ones tried to kill us.

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