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Duck Pond Dragon Returns Post-Florence
An Oriental icon restored
April 22, 2019

O
reintal’s duck pond on Hodges Street is home to the Duck Pond Dragon, a creation of former resident and artist Gary Gresko. Made of ferro-cement and colored glass, the Dragon was launched in 2004. It wasn’t the first Dragon in the pond, but it has been the longest lasting, only out once (in 2012, for repairs to its keel.)

Duck Pond Dragon Relaunch
The Duck Pond Dragon on a July morning in 2018, two months before Hurricane Florence.

It survived multiple hurricanes, including Irene in 2011 and, most recently, Florence. That last hurricane moved the sculpture from the middle of the duck pond onto the far side of Hodges Street.

Duck Pond Dragon Relaunch
The Dragon, moved from her mooring during Hurricane Florence in September 2018. Her base is level with the top of the railing separating Hodges Street from the harbor.
Duck Pond Dragon Relaunch
After Hurricane Florence, the Duck Pond Dragon came to rest by the stairs at Garland Fulcher’s Seafood. This was Sunday after the storm.

The Dragon survived the relocation, coming to rest against the steps of Garland Fulcher’s Seafood. Between Sunday and Monday after the hurricane, the Dragon was damaged. It appeared an attempt was made to lift the Dragon by the head and tail, resulting in a quick decapitation. It was found leaning against a pole near the Wit’s End, head lying atop its back.

Duck Pond Dragon Relaunch
The Dragon was moved by an unknown person/persons from the dock at Garland Fulcher’s to the other side of Hodges Street, resulting in damage to the head and tail. (Photos Pat Stockwell)

TownDock.net took possession of the Dragon, carting it to headquarters. Repairs would have to wait until Oriental and its residents had recuperated from the hurricane.

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TownDock staff retrieves the broken Dragon, carting it back to HQ to await repairs.

Art Halpern was tasked with the restoration. He accepted and asked Ken Lazer to focus on the artistic side while he tackled engineering. The tail was gone – recreated mostly from old photographs. The bronze horn on the head was their own addition.

In January, a request was made for colored glass bottles for the repairs. Town residents responded by dropping off glass bottles and beads of every possible color. In early April, it was determined the Dragon was ready for a relaunch. Volunteers were gathered – some pressed into service on site. TownDock.net staff launched a canoe to help with deployment.

Duck Pond Dragon Relaunch
Art Halpern stands in front of the repaired Dragon, loaded and ready to return to town.

Volunteers, residents, and several Oriental businesses donated their time, expertise, and the bits and pieces needed to get the Dragon back up and floating. Paint was provided by Village Hardware. The Inland Waterway Provision Company gave anchor line and shackles. Deaton’s Yacht Service provided bronze Dragon hardware.

Duck Pond Dragon Relaunch
The Dragon arrives. Volunteers wait for instructions.
Duck Pond Dragon Relaunch
A bystander checks the repair…
Duck Pond Dragon Relaunch
Looking for a good place to launch…depth sounding with a paddle.
Duck Pond Dragon Relaunch
Wilma Kennedy lends a hand.
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Volunteers, a few pressed into service, return the Dragon to the pond.
Duck Pond Dragon Relaunch
Newest TownDock.net staffer Abbey jumps in the canoe to help.
Duck Pond Dragon Relaunch
A crowd on Hodges Street waits for the Dragon – or a canoeist – to hit the water.
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A crew of two and a half take the Dragon out into the water.
Duck Pond Dragon Relaunch
Viewers of HarborCam often use the Dragon to determine the direction of the wind. After a check on HarborCam, it’s determined the Dragon will need to be relocated closer to Hodges Street. Relocation is planned for the next day.
Duck Pond Dragon Relaunch
Keith Smith convinces his nephew Chris French – visiting from Canada – to participate in Dragon Wrangling maneuvers.
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Chris French redeploys the Dragon anchor.
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Checking their work before coming ashore.
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Closer to Hodges Street and viewable on HarborCam.
Duck Pond Dragon Relaunch
The Duck Pond Dragon.
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Posted Monday April 22, 2019 by Allison DeWeese


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