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Dragon Runs Out On 2013
Croaker Drops In The New Year
January 3, 2014
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C
roaker and dragons. They’re not just symbols for the town of Oriental – they’re how hundreds of people in town rang out 2013 and greeted 2014.

dragon run 2014
Meeting of the dragons. The head of the New Years Dragon at left. That tail belongs to the Chinese Dragon. The two met up in the 11:30 running.
dragon run 2014
The crowd around the New Year’s dragon. Partially obscured by a Dragon Master’s flag, is the Oriental croaker, suspended at the top of a sailboat mast, awaiting the midnight descent.

As has been tradition for decades, the New Years Dragon sauntered up and down Hodges Street. He did that waterfront run twice, once at 8p and again at 11:30p. On that second run, he was joined by Oriental’s more serpentine Chinese dragon. At midnight, Oriental’s other symbol, the croaker, descended from the mast of a visiting sailboat at the Town Dock.

dragon run 2014
The croaker made its annual drop from a sailboat mast in to a waiting dinghy at The Oriental Town Dock. This year, the plywood croaker was surrounded by a simulated fog at the stroke of midnight.
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The croaker and the sailboat it came from and the dinghy where it landed.

That sailboat offered more than a staging area for the croaker. The boat’s owner, Cliff Ryder stepped in to be the head of the dragon on its 11:30 run. Ryder took the dragon – and its trailing body and retinue — on an energetic sashay that, appropriate for a sailing town, tacked many times from curb to curb.

(When not sailing his boat south, Ryder is a base jumper and some of that sailing off of mountainsides could be detected in the dragon’s swoops.)

dragon run 2014
The dragon, with Cliff Ryder under the head, saunters past Garland Fulcher Seafood.
dragon run 2014
Hands upon the dragon. A touch for good luck.
dragon run 2014
Oriental’s Chinese Dragon rises over the New Year’s Dragon. The 11:30 run featured both dragons.

More photos ahead of the big dragon’s run, the Chinese dragon and the humble croaker who dropped with precision this year.

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Posted Friday January 3, 2014 by Melinda Penkava


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