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Dragon Run, Croaker Drop In To 2016
Half Century of No Rain on This Parade
January 5, 2016
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n the five decades of running the dragon down Hodges Street on New Years Eve, Oriental has never seen a dragon run rained out. For a while on December 31, the weather forecast threatened to end that long run. But the rains held off and the town’s signature New Year’s Eve tradition carried on….

Dragon Run dec 2015
Dragons passing in the night in the last moments of 2015. (Photo: Dave White)
Dragon Run dec 2015
Dragon waits in its lair – a Rotary tent set up at Hodges and South Water.

At 8pm the Oriental dragon, big headed and silky bodied sauntered down Hodges. And then the Oriental dragon ran again at 11:30, this time in pursuit of the other, more serpentine Chinese dragon. The crowd surged around, reaching out to touch the bigger dragon and its rep for good luck. Pots and pans banged. Oriental’s drummers punched out a rhythm. A dragon-winged girl twirled a fairylike dance. The Oriental Croaker did its fish-out-of-water-stint for hours on the mast of a boat from Texas. An Austin accordionist played Auld Lang Syne. A countdown called out. A lighted croaker wriggled toward the waters of Oriental’s harbor.

Dragon Run dec 2015
Dragon heading toward the new year.

That’s how several hundred people on Oriental’s Hodges Street coaxed in the new year. Within a half hour, the first rains of 2016 fell.

Dragon Run dec 2015
The SV Mona whose Austin, TX crew, James and Rachel, hosted the croaker drop at midnight.
Dragon Run dec 2015
Faith Heath and her family traveled from Pitt County to attend their 4th dragon run. The 11 year old brought her Christmas gift, dragon wings and showed how they worked.
Dragon Run dec 2015
Long view of Hodges Street as the dragon runs in front of The Bean.

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Posted Tuesday January 5, 2016 by Melinda Penkava

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