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Fire Burns a Dragon and a Virus
Dragon Burn 2021
April 5, 2021

painted wooden dragon. A coronavirus effigy. Add one hundred twenty-eight ounces of lighter fluid. It all went up in flames Saturday night.

The dragon soon after catching fire.

The Pamlico County Arts Council wasn’t sure if there would be a Dragon Burn this year. Then statewide gathering restrictions were relaxed as infection rates dropped. The Burn was scheduled for March. A forecast of high winds caused a weather delay, and it was rescheduled to the first weekend in April. Arts Council President Angie Propst said it “was better than expected. The weather was perfect, the crowd was excited and positive, and I couldn’t believe how many families were there.”

Wearing the same expression, dad and child watch the fire.

Now in its third year, the Pamlico County Arts Council’s annual Dragon Burn is held as a fundraiser for the non-profit organization. To that end, they also auctioned off the right to light the dragon – a privilege that went to Jeff Troeltzsch for the sum of $500.

Jeff Troeltzsch won the bid to light the dragon. Here, he receives his torch.

More than 100 memberships were purchased online prior to the Burn. Several more were purchased at the gate. The Arts Council isn’t yet sure of the final total, but Propst said the funds from this yearly event allows the Arts Council to tailor the year’s programs.

Dragon man and Arts Council member Robert Wiegand got the torch ready and kept the crowd entertained with a fire spinning spectacle.

Propst talked about some of those upcoming events; “We will be doing another Gospel, Blues & BBQ again as well as more art classes. We have a Chalk the Walk scheduled [creating murals on the sidewalks with chalk] for several places in the county, and we’re looking into a multi-cultural fair later in the year.”

Burning steel wool spun from a rope throws sparks over the Red Rooster’s pond.

Propst says the Arts Council couldn’t do it alone. They have the help of local business owners and volunteers like Chris Daniels, owner of the Silos and the Red Rooster, and his band Southern Hellcats. Says Propst, “we are always looking for more volunteers who want to help put ideas into motion.”

Pamlico County Arts Council members work the event. Clockwise from top: Pamlico County Arts Council President Angie Propst, Belinda Barrow, and dragon designer Marguerite Chadwicke-Juner.

You can contact the Pamlico County Arts Council at pamlicoarts@gmail.com. The Dragon Burn will return February, 2022.

Embers pushed up by the heat.
Families played and danced on the grass to the music.
The dragon wasn’t the only thing to burn this year: a coronavirus hung from the dragon’s arm.
15 year old Wyatt Grant won the design contest for the 2021 Dragon Burn logo.
As with other Pamlico County Arts Council Board Members, Kim Daniels dressed in fiery red and orange for the event.
Southern Hellcats provided tunes before and after the event.
Connor Daniels’ sax waits near the stage.
In the dragon’s hand, one large coronavirus.
A dragon; front, back, wings.
Viewers were invited to draw on the dragon, to decorate or just to write down the things they want to leave behind.
A subset of the Drumming Dragons provided a beat for the Chinese Dragon and the Dragon Burn.
South Pamlico Volunteer Fire Department arrives on site. Firefighters stay close during the burn and keep things under control.
On the job.
Prepared for the cold weather, two young viewers wait for the burn.
The Chinese Dragon dance through the crowd, bowing to the dragon and the crowd.
A torch lights the fire.
The beginning of the end.
It took some time for the tail to catch alight, but the body went up rapidly.
The beginning of the end.
Fire lights up the dragon’s structure.
Fire fighters keep watch as the dragon – and the virus – burn.
Southern Hellcats play on as what’s left of the dragon burns out.
The Dragon Burn, video from above:

Posted Monday April 5, 2021 by Allison DeWeese

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