By Jim Newell
The Lake Orion Village Council voted 6-0 to approve a permit for the Dragon on the Lake festival to return later this summer.
The festival was canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19 gathering restrictions. Dragon on the Lake is the Orion Art Center’s signature fundraising event.
The Art Center, a nonprofit organization, also took over the Flower & Art Fair, which it is planning for May 21-22, from the Lake Orion Downtown Development Authority.
The proposed schedule for the 2021 Dragon on the Lake is 5-11 p.m. Aug. 26, noon-12:30 a.m. Aug. 27, 10 a.m. – 12:30 a.m. Aug. 28 and 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Aug. 29.
Julie Law, president of 360 Events Production, the events and marketing company the Art Center hired to run Dragon on the Lake, told the council she was informed expect about 10,000 people to attend the four-day festival.
The event application lists an estimated attendance of 5,000 people per day. The council did not address possible COVID-19 restrictions or precautions during its discussion.
The festival will include live music, the Little Dragon Den kids’ area, the Dragon Pub, the Tiki Bar, a Dragon on the Run 5K race on the Paint Creek Trail, self-contained food trucks and approximately 100 vendor tents, Law said.
The Brave the Wave Jet Ski Race & Competition and the Boat Parade, both at Green’s Park, will return, as will the popular Chalk Art Challenge, according to event application documents.
The Dragon Boat races are also expected to return this year.
Vendors interested in participating should email email@example.com for an application. “We don’t put our applications out in public. We like to vet everybody,” Law said.
Council President Ken Van Portfliet said he “was excited for this event” but questioned the use of food trucks, saying he was an advocate for using local restaurants.
Law assured the council that the food trucks would be carnival-type food – such as Elephant Ears and slushies.
“We’re not going after anything that’s going to be direct competition with your local businesses,” she said. “We’re not going to put a pizza truck outside of 313 Pizza, we’re not going to put a taco truck outside of Sagebrush.
“These small businesses mean a lot to me and I frequent them often,” Law said.
The festival footprint includes closing Broadway Street from M-24 to Shadbolt Street; Flint Street from Lapeer Street to Anderson Street; and Front Street from Broadway to Anderson. The festival will also use the parking lot on the corner of Anderson and Front streets, as well as the Children’s Park municipal lot off Anderson Street.
Council President Pro-tem Jerry Narsh made the motion to approve the Dragon on the Lake event application, including waiving the application and signage fees.