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January 3, 2011
Oriental ran out the Old Year in style with two dragons and a croaker. Which is to say, there were two dragon runs — one at 8:30 and the other at 11:30, followed by the dropping of the Croaker at midnight.
A crowd presses in as the dragon saunters down Hodges Street Friday night.
The spirit amid the clanging of pots and pans and metal kitchenware was buoyant.
While you check out the photos – here are the sounds from this past New Years Eve in Oriental. You’ll hear the drummers – and then the general noise and joyful mayhem of the Dragon Run – and back to Oriental’s Drumming Drummers. This is the finest recording a man in a bathrobe with a recorder can make:
In front of The Bean and the Town Dock, and under the Oriental star and the Croaker, a throng of people awaited the dragon.
Just over a week earlier, it had been looking as though there would be just the 8:30 dragon run, as the “secret society” that was in charge of the dragon refused to let it come out for a later run. The was just one run in 2009 as well, a response, in part, to the vandalism that left the dragon with some missing teeth in the later run in 2008.The dragon – with Eric Kindle at the head — and one of the dragon guards.
However, that idea of a one-run dragon didn’t sit well with some area residents as well as some restaurant owners who noted a downturn in customers last year when there was no second running. When it looked as though the the dragon would not run twice, Oriental resident Charlie Overcash saw that getting another dragon was the only option. He went on line and ordered – for $800 – another parade dragon. From China.Many reached out to touch the dragon for good luck. Seemingly just as many raised a camera to capture an image of the dragon going by.
That it was made in China, the land where the tradition of dragon runs began, seemed fortuitous. Less so, the matter of shipping. By Thursday night, a Skype call to China revealed that the dragon — ordered on December 24— might not have left that continent yet. Delivery by Friday the 31st seemed unlikely. With that possibility in mind, Charlie had made backup arrangements to use the dragon that Deaton Yachts debuted in the Croakerfest parade two years ago. Meanwhile, Turtle Midyette, who was tapped to run this year’s dragon at 8:30p – called to say that that dragon could make the run at 11:30 as well. From there everyone worked together…From left, Robin Carbury, Eric Kindle (at the back of the dragon’s mouth) and Turtle Midyette, the Dragon Leader.A check of teeth health as the dragon pauses during its second run.
Behind the scenes though, there was another challenge going on and that was finding someone — preferably tall and strong — to get under the dragon’s head and carry that weight on their shoulders. With a few hours to go Friday, Eric Kindle, owner of The Bean, stepped forward. He was happy to do it, he said, as it was something he’d wanted to try. (On Saturday he said he’d be willing to do it again next year. And that no, his shoulders didn’t hurt.)At the stroke of midnight, or thereabouts, the Oriental Croaker descended from the top of a mast toward the water of the harbor.
And so it was that Oriental got the two dragon runs it had become accustomed to over the years. After the second running, several hundred people stayed by the Town Dock to witness the dropping of the Oriental Croaker, a plywood fish that descended toward the waters of the harbor from the mast of a sailboat (the boat provided by Jim Edwards). With the booming and trilling of Also Sprach Zarathustra (the 2001 movie theme), the Croaker did its thing and 2011 arrived.Bring out the pots and pans….
Posted Monday January 3, 2011 by Melinda Penkava
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