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Dragon Launched!
Over 100 folks come to see the Dragon hit Oriental's Duck Pond
May 18, 2004

och Ness watch out. Oriental’s got a dragon in its Duck Pond. 100 people turned out Saturday morning as the Dragon was set afloat and then anchored in the waters just off of The Bean.

The Dragon proudly points to windward.

If you’re looking in at the Harborcam shot, the Dragon is that shiny, glittering object in the middle of the Duck Pond.

Up close, it’s even more spectacular.

Oriental sculptor Gary Gresko worked for months on the ferro-cement dragon, fitting thousands of pieces of bright colored glass on to it’s undulating body.

Gary decided to use glass he says, because he wanted something that would glisten and catch the sunlight at different angles as it turned in the water. That happened immediately as the dragon was towed to the middle of the duck pond and made a couple of circles before the anchor was secured.

Gary, who claimed that he “just wanted it out of my studio” at the same time seemed heartened by the turnout of residents and visitors who stood by as the Dragon took its place in the water.

Folks start to arrive for a dragon launch…

This is the second dragon to call the Duck Pond home. In the mid-90’s a dragon emerged one New Year’s Eve, a surprise gift to the town from long-time resident Grace Evans. Gary Gresko says that they worked to keep it afloat for several years – even retrieving is after a hurricane floated it away — but time, and some teenaged pranksters, took their toll on that dragon.

The Dragon arrives via pickup truck.

This new dragon is new and improved. Once again, Grace Evans was the catalyst in getting things started. One design change this time around is that the Dragon has a keel. And a sturdy Danforth anchor.


Gary Gresko has said he thought it was important that the town have something like this. And the sense one got standing on the shores of the Duck Pond Saturday morning was that he was right.

Prior to launch Gary showed off the nautical attributes of the dragon. Here Whortonsville Yacht & Tractor Club Commodore Nick Santoro checks out the mooring rig for the dragon. Nick approved…

This was entirely a community volunteer effort – made with Gary’s time and materials and monetary donations from the public.

A plaque will soon be affixed on the railing on the Bean’s ramp or next to the pond. It will list the names of Patrons – those who contributed $50 toward the dragon.

Town Dock will also list the names of all of those who contributed whatever the level. It’s not too late either. Those who would like to may send a check to:
Gary Gresko
P.O. Box 284
Oriental, NC 28571

Lots of TownDock readers from all over came through in the past week with contributions toward the dragon and for that artist Gary Gresko was very thankful and appreciative.

The dragon was offloaded….

Carried towards the pond (note assistance from Veterinarian Bob Moore. Dragon temperature normal he noted…)

….into the water…


Heading out to set the Dragon.

No! Over here….

Anchor down!

Russ Stewart and son Tristan provided a New York Harbor style welcome for the Dragon – a plume of water streaming over the Duck Pond.

For a while after the Dragon was launched Saturday, a lot of people lingered on the shores to look at it, and to wonder aloud – as we do a lot here in Oriental – about the ancillary business opportunities that might present themselves. Boat tours were mentioned. As was a binocular viewing stand such as one would find at Niagra Falls or the Grand Canyon.

Grace Evans had the best Dragon welcoming hat.

Four year old Gabriel Huff took the first boat tour around the Dragon with part of the TownDock.net crew – ( though Gabriel thought the purpose of the trip was to bring the Dragon back to shore.) The Dragon does not have a name. Even after months of working on it, Gary says he has just called it Dragon because he’s “not big on naming things.” (He shares with us that he has not even named his cat, on the theory that the cat wouldn’t respond to anything so “Cat” works as good as anything.) Gary’s wife, Lizann Taylor, on the other hand, has written before of a “Loch Neuse Monster” And we’re guessing that with something so whimsical and vibrant as this dragon, names will likely come up.

A well earned moment of rest for Gary Gresko after the launch.

Posted Tuesday May 18, 2004 by Keith N. Smith

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