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Dragon Rolls Through (Most of) Oriental
New Year's Eve 2021 - 2022
January 4, 2022

t the end of 2020, the New Year’s Eve Dragon rolled through Oriental for the first time. It was a new way of celebrating the incoming year; usually crowds gathered along Hodges Street to watch the New Year’s Eve Dragon and the Chinese Dragon meet and dance to bring in the new year.

A street at night - a large cloth dragon head draped in colored lights can be seen over the top of pickup truck driving down the road. The dragon has bright green eyes and an open red mouth.
The Dragon rolls down Hodges Street.

It was also an opportunity to get a little good luck in the New Year – all you had to do was touch the Dragon.

COVID changed that in 2020. There was an expectation that 2021 would see the return of a ‘normal’ New Year’s Eve celebration – and a dragon with feet instead of wheels. But the infection rate of the Omicron variant changed that.

A young girl kneels on the trailer beside the dragon's orange, green, and yellow tail, waving a blue noisemaker.
The Dragon’s entourage included kids and adults – all riding and helping the along.

The number of COVID cases in North Carolina jumped by nearly 15,000: from 3,698 on December 28, to 18,571 cases on December 30.

Nighttime. The dragon head has passed by and the green eye is visible. In the background, green lights shine from the mast and mainsail of a boat at the dock. A man with a hat sits on the trailer near the dragon head, looking back at the camera.
One of several dragon handlers riding on the trailer.

Organizers decided to put the Dragon back on the trailer and drive through the neighborhoods.

A map with red lines showing the route and approximate times it will pass through neighborhoods.
The path the dragon was supposed to take. It took a wrong turn and missed Dolphin Point in the upper right hand corner.

To give people the chance to get their bit of good luck going into the new year, the Dragon’s head was displayed at the corner of S. Water and Hodges Street on New Year’s Eve, from 2-5p. Dragon Handler Jim Edwards said he was pleasantly surprised at the large number of people who stopped by.

During the day, a large yellow, orange and red cloth dragon head sits on saw horses. Strings of light are wrapped around the teeth and draped over the tongue.
The dragon head on the street corner, available for good luck pets.

Later that night, the Dragon rolled through Oriental on a trailer – visiting people at the end of their driveways. On Hodges St, a crowd and the Chinese Dragon waited, cheering them both on.

After the larger Dragon rolled on to other neighborhoods, the Chinese Dragon danced and played with the crowds.

Nighttime. A red, yellow, and gold snake-like dragon head is above the crowd. A large gold colored ball with red fringe is held near its head.Nighttime on a crowded street over looking dark water in the harbor. The red, yellow, and gold dragon winds around itself above the crowd.A small boy with a large lollipop stands in the streetlight while the body of the red, yellow, and gold dragon passes next to him.
The Chinese Dragon in the crowd on Hodges Street.

There was one misstep in the plans – a wrong turn took the Dragon out to Whittaker Point instead of Dolphin Point. For that, the Dragon Keeper apologized and TownDock.net offers up this view of the Dragon rolling through on New Year’s Eve 2021 – 2022.

Posted Tuesday January 4, 2022 by Allison DeWeese

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