By Megan Kelley
It’ll be a weekend of fun for the 11th annual Dragon on the Lake event from Aug. 22 – 25.
The festival originated 11 years ago with just a few vendors and Dragon boat races, said Orion Art Center Director Karin Starick.
“It just kept expanding to where now we have not only Dragon boats where we have up to 30 boats that race and the vendor booths still throughout the entire downtown, we have about 80 vendors,” Starick said. “In addition, we have a Dragon Pub, which is where we have all of our live entertainment and, of course, beverages. And then we have a separate Tiki Tent which we’ve only had for two years… We have the Kidz Zone and that’s where we have all sorts of activities for kids.”
“There’s a lot to do. What we say is there’s something for everyone,” said Starick. “There’s so many different things…and then of course, all of the businesses are still open so they can still go into the businesses.”
The weekend’s events will kick off with Thirsty Thursday at 4 p.m. with the opening of the Dragon Pub on the corner of Front St. and Anderson St. with no cover charge. Lake Orion resident Reggie Love will kick off the weekend followed by Planet of Fun. The Dragon Pub will feature live music throughout the festival.
On Friday, the Dragon Pub will also feature music from 6 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. with a $5 cover charge. In addition to the Dragon Pub, the Tiki Tent will also be open and feature the Knights of Columbus’ Casino Night from 6 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. with free admission.
The Lake Orion Lakes Association’s Lighted Boat Parade will begin on Lake Orion at roughly 8:40 p.m. and feature Lake Orion’s very own fire breathing dragon leading the parade. The public can view the parade for free at Pelton’s Point, just south of Green’s Park.
The Dragon on the Run 5k will start the day off with a 7:30 p.m. registration time and a 9 a.m. start time.
The Kidz Zone and vendor markets will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
There’s $1,500 in prizes up for grabs at the Chalk Art Challenge where awards will be given for Best of Theme (dragon), Peoples Choice and Youth.
Another $1,500 in prizes will be awarded during the High School Students Slam Chalk Art Challenge. Local high school students can get together in teams of 2-4 to compete for the cash prizes.
Registration for both contests can be done at dragononthelake.com.
The Tiki Tent will open up at 10 a.m. and close at 10:30 p.m. with various games and activities scheduled throughout the day. The Dragon Pub will open with music at 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. A $5 cover charge will be required for entry starting at 6 p.m. and live music will begin at 8:30 p.m. until 11:30 p.m. with the Square Pegz.
Opening ceremonies for the annual Dragon Boat Races begin at 9:30 a.m. in Green’s Park with free public viewing at Pelton’s Point. A mid-day jet ski show put on by Goldfish Swim School will happen before awards are presented at 5 p.m.
The Kidz Zone and Vendor market will again be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the Dragon Pub and Tiki Tent will also be open from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. and 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. respectively.
Parking for the festival can be found at Blanche Sims Elementary located at 465 E. Jackson, the Ehman Center and the Lake Orion Community School’s administration building at 315 N Lapeer st.
Shuttle services will be provided Friday from 5 p.m. – 10 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. – 11 p.m. and from Sunday 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. with drop-offs at the corners of Anderson and Flint streets, Broadway and Shadbolt and Green’s Park.
Road closures will begin starting at 5 a.m. on Saturday morning and continuing until 10 p.m. on Sunday.
Broadway St. will be closed from Shadbolt to Lapeer St., Flint St. will be closed from Lapeer St. to Anderson and Anderson will be closed emergency vehicles only from Flint to the Orion Art Center.
For additional information on event schedules, parking, registration, etc. please visit dragononthelake.com or contact the Orion Art Center 248-693-4986.