Mark your Calendars

On January 23, 2018, in Latest News, by cdbforg

The 2018 Colorado Dragon Boat Festival will be on July 28th & 29th! Don’t miss out on this exciting, free event that will showcase the amazing Asian and Asian American communities we have here in Colorado!

What: The 18th Annual Colorado Dragon Boat Festival

Date: July 28th & 29th, 2018

Location: Sloans Lake, Denver



Sara Moore is the Executive Director for Dragon 5280, the umbrella organization that encompasses the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival, the Colorado Dragon Film Festival, and the Emerging Leaders Program. Sara brings over five years of non-profit executive management experience. Sara has managed large scale events and significant fundraising efforts as District Director for the Longs Peak Council Boy Scouts of America in Boulder, Colorado. Sara earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Allied Health Sciences with a Minor in Biology at Grand Valley State University in Michigan.

Sara’s passions include rock climbing, hiking, and learning about her Japanese heritage. Sara can talk on end about her grandfather, Masamichi (Mac) Suzuki. Mac was interned during WWII as a nisei at Tule Lake, California. He later served on the ABCC (Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission) in Hiroshima, Japan, as a OBGYN studying fertility in the victims of the atomic bombs, later retiring from U.S. Army as a Captain.   Sara is excited to be a part of this amazing organization that helps promote and celebrate the diversity we have in the Asian Pacific American community.

Sara Moore: [email protected] 


Every year artists from around the community compete to design our festival poster. The winning design is used to shape our visual identity for the festival each year and is featured on our t-shirts and promotional materials.

We’re pleased to announce our 2017 design contest winner: Lyn My Dam, an illustrator and graphic designer who completed her BFA in 3D Animation from the University of Colorado Denver’s College of Arts & Media this past May. Lyn has been an active volunteer with CDBF and CDFF and loves attending the festival every year.

“I wanted to integrate the dragon into the waters where the dragon boats would be and give a sense of power for the rowers,” she says. “I added the mountains to refer to Colorado and its landscapes.”

Lyn will receive $300 in addition to her art being featured in the promotional materials for the 2017 festival.


Our second place poster (left) was created by Ratha Sok. A Cambodian-American, he was excited that Cambodia would be featured this year and drew inspiration from Asian cultures. “As an artist I value community,” he says. “I feel that it is important to showcase diversity and what Dragon Boat Festival can offer the community.” He is currently working on a mural project with Natural Grocers. He will receive a $200 second-place prize.

In third place (right) and receiving a $100 prize is Leah Hendricks, a visual artist with some experience as a graphic designer for businesses and nonprofits. “I wanted to combine the elements of water and fire, since this is a festival featuring a water sport in the year of the fire rooster,” she says.

Each year we also feature a “Young at Art” Award for 6th-12th graders. This year’s winner (below) is Kaylee Peterson, who wanted to highlight the inspiration and contrast between the fiery dragon and the cool waters of the racers. She has been creating art since early childhood when her grandmother would give her paints and art supplies as gifts. She will win a $50 prize.

Congratulations to all our winners and thank you to everyone who participated in our 2017 Design Contest!


In 2007, the U.S Navy Dragon Boat Team paddled in large 32-person boats for the “opening” annual race that occurred on May 5 of each year on the island of Okinawa, Japan. Eventually, the love of “Haari” (Okinawan for Dragon Boat) inspired the women on that team to paddle more than just one race per year. These paddlers wanted to live the culture and beauty of Okinawa Dragon Boat Racing so they formed a smaller group from the 2007 U.S. Navy Dragon Boating team now known as “The Summer Dragons.”

The Summer Dragons trained and practiced with their brother team, “the Japanese Naval team,” who supplied knowledge, handmade 10-person wooden boats, a kajitori (turner), and their White Beach Port – along with a demand for perfection. Many women would drive over an hour to get to the port twice a week to practice three things: correct form, synchronization, and power. Neighbors used to laugh at the American team because foreigners just “didn’t do” the local races, but they earned their respect with each win at the local ports. The Okinawans appreciated that the Summer Dragons loved the sport and eventually the locals would cheered them on!

The team became well-known and began to make friends and competitors alike. They invested in their own boat and practiced 2-3 times a week for the weekly Sunday race. They loved every minute of it. After 10 years, the Summer Dragons are still going strong. They continue to be a part of the U.S Navy Team and will paddle with honor under the name on May 5, but starting May 6 of every year, the Summer Dragons form again and compete in the local races.

The Summer Dragons are a mix of active duty Navy and Marines, wives of service members, teachers, mothers, civilians, all whom have come together because of this amazing sport. New gals who have the same drive and love or the sport, culture, and experience join all the time.

This year, the Summer Dragons are holding their 10th Anniversary at the 2017 Colorado Dragon Boat Festival. 20 women are coming from all over the world to paddle just one more time. Women from all ten years are represented on the team and cannot wait to experience the Dragon Boat culture in Colorado!