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The 2024 Dragon Burn
Smoke, fire, and ash
March 22, 2024

I
t takes time to build an effigy.

Concept, design, construction, paint, assembly – it takes days and weeks of time from multiple people.

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A dragon behind The Silos restaurant. It is set on fire just after the sun goes down.

Destroying it – burning it to the ground – takes a little less than half an hour.

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Light from the fire highlights the Dragon’s wings – and the crowd.

The Dragon Burn, the main fund raising event for the Pamlico County Arts Council (PCAC), happens every year.

Led by PCAC member Marguerite Chadwick-Juner, the event brings in a couple hundred people. The rights to lighting the dragon are auctioned off – won again this year by Jeff Troeltzsch. His bid came in at over $600.

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Jeff Troeltzsch won the bid to light the dragon.

The weather was cooperative and the crowd was enthused, though Fire Chief Eric Kindle had a concern or two. At one point, there was a little too much black smoke for his liking. Not because of the smoke itself, but for what it meant: the potential for a dangerous – and slightly explosive – situation.

That’s why the South Pamlico Volunteer Fire Department attends each year – to keep the burn safe. Kindle stepped in behind the dragon and created ventilation points.

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From smoking to burning. Fire Chief Eric Kindle steps in to keep the smoking from becoming dangerous – by introducing oxygen and feeding the fire.

And then the fire caught – moving up through the tail and back, climbing up to fully engulf its head.

The crowd, lit orange by the blaze, grinned and watched the fire chew through the giant dragon.

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The view from the crowd. (Tom Parsons photo)

When all was said and done, the effigy lay in burning ashes. The Southern Hellcats took the stage again, and while some of the crowd investigated the remains, others danced into the night.

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A crowd seated at the edge watches with smiles.
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Dragons galore: Lena Robertson drew the dragon that appeared on the 2024 poster, the Drummin’ Dragons make a beat, and the Lunar New Year dragons pays its respects.
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Station 19 Fire Department stages their trucks nearby to keep the Burn safe.
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Get your picture with the dragon – in two or three dimensions. Write out your well-wishes, and get one last good ‘before’ look.
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Fire Chief Eric Kindle and Dragon Master Bob Wiegand waiting for their time to shine. Bob helps light the Dragon while Kindle keeps it in check.
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After the fire is started, a little help is needed. Dragon Master Bob Wiegand provides.
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Southern Hellcats performed on the Red Rooster stage before and after the Dragon Burn.
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The firemen of South Pamlico Volunteer Fire Department on standby: Wayne Mandel, Dave Genetti, Dave Tikkala, Charles Stackhouse.
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A dragon consumed.
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Dressing up for the event, and getting the lights without the fire.
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A gust of wind and fire sends burning ash into the air.
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Watching from the safety of the other side of the pond.
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Keeping an eye on the field (and the golf cart riders), a fire fighter watches for stray ashes.
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With the Dragon in ashes, the Southern Hellcats return to the stage.

The Dragon Burn returns in 2025.

Posted Friday March 22, 2024 by Allison DeWeese


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