For our 15th year, the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival is asking some of the people and groups who participate in the festival to share their thoughts in short, 15-second (more or less) videos. We'll one each day, so click "Continue Reading" below and view them all!
Kenny Nguyen, CU Boulder Asian Unity
Here's the 15th video for our 15th year: Dragon boat race team drummer Kenny Nguyen on why #CDBF2015 is an important #AAPI event! Kenny is a member of the University of Colorado Boulder Asian Unity team. For #CDBF2015 there are teams of Asian American students from CU Boulder, CU Denver and Colorado State University in Fort Collins. Denver University's "That One Team" unfortunately is taking this year off, but DU is represented by the Daniels School of Business -- it's great to see so many young people getting into Dragon Boat Racing and enjoying the festival!
Aiko Kimura, Denver Taiko
Aiko Kimura is the leader of Denver Taiko, the accomplished and award-winning Japanese American taiko drum group that has been the rhythmic heart of the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival since the very first year. They're a crowd favorite, and they're back again for #CDBF2015! http://denvertaiko.org
Tarika Cefkin, Operations Committee
Tarika Cefkin grew up with CDBF -- she was a performer with Thai Harmony as a child. As she grew up, she joined the festival Operations Committee She later became Operations Manager, and now is back as a volunteer on the Operations Committee. You can see her as a stage actor in productions by Theatre Esprit Asia (TEA): http://www.theatre-esprit-asia.org
Nita Chittivej, Denver Thai Lion's Club
Nita Chittivej is a veteran of Denver's restaurant scene, having opened one of the first Thai restaurants in the area and now operating Chada Thai. She's the current president of the Denver Thai Lion's Club. The Thai Lion's Club serves traditional Thai cuisine at CDBF as a fundraiser for its many community projects including sending toys and bicycles or eyeglasses for children in Thailand, and to provide relief aid for victims of the recent Nepal earthquake. Nita will also be demonstrating Thai cooking at the Explore Asia Stage in Gateway to Asia during #CDBF2015, Sunday from 10:30-11:00 am.
Fanja Rakotonirina, Madagascar Hat Company
Fanja Rakotonirina and her husband Georges Raelisaona operate Madagascar Hat Company, the booth that sells colorful hats and bags at CDBF each year that are made of raffia by craftswomen in Madagascar. The profits go back to their home country, and the couple have built schools and helped villages modernize, and have also worked to preserve Madagascar's rainforests. Fanja is passionate about her mission to help Madagascar -- you can tell from her TEDx talk she gave earlier this year in Madagascar's capital, Antananarivo: https://youtu.be/QPmvEK1xX7U
Bob Nelson, Mutineers paddler & Race Committee member
Bob Nelson is a member of CDBF's Mile-High Dragonboat Racing Club and one of the race team organizers for the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival. He's s jokester but he shows his love of dragon boat racing year-round with his leadership and his entire family's involvement. Thanks Bob!
Rich Ochiuzzo, Wounded Warriors race team
Rich Ochiuzzo is a Vietnam veteran who's also a veteran dragon boat paddler who's competed for two years before at CDBF. This year, he's an experienced leader of the Wounded Warriors team. It's sponsored by Adaptive Adventures, along with a Veterans Administration team of vets, and a civilian team of caregivers and supporters as well as sight-impaired paddlers.
Sachie Iwaishi, festival volunteer
Sachie Iwaishi is one of the most dedicated volunteers. She organized the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival's Opening Ceremony for several years, but then moved away to her home state of Hawaii. But she has returned to Colorado for the past two festivals to help out with the Opening Ceremonies and other areas. Welcome back, Sach!
Chris Jose, Fox31 and Denver's CW2
KDVR (Fox31) and KWGN (CW2) reporter Chris Jose has been a part of the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival as an emcee on the main stage, and especially during the Opening Ceremonies on Saturday at 10 am with Deborah Takahara one of KDVR's anchors. KDVR/KWGN are the festival's TV sponsors and they've been great partners to work with!
Dwight Mark, CDBF performer
Dwight Mark has been performing at the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival since 2004. He's a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who performs rock, blues, folk, country -- just about any style. And, after his first year on the CDBF stage, he was inspired to write "Dragon Boat," which he has allowed us to use as the official theme song of the festival. You can learn about Dwight at http://dwightmark.com and hear the song here:
Andrew Yeh, CDBF Operations Committee
Andrew Yeh is a member of the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival's Operations Committee, overseeing the Non-Profit Partners Program and helping to manage volunteers for the event. He's uniquely qualified because he's pretty much done everything having to do with the festival, from paddling on race teams to selling merchandise at a Non-Profit Vendor booth. OK, so he hasn't been a Taste of Asia food vendor. Yet.
Truong An Gifts
Mimi Luong Ye's family store, Truong An, has been part of the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival since the first year. It's the huge tent at the festival that has a huge variety of Asian gifts, toys, parasols, and this year, an assortment of anime items. Mimi and her husband Michael are so dedicated to CDBF that they planned their son Landon's birth to avoid the festival's dates! http://www.truongangifts.com
Dae Gee Korean BBQ
Joe Kim's Korean BBQ restaurant Dae Gee (which means "Pig Out") has been part of the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival for four years. In that time, he has added a second location at 8th and Colorado Blvd. to his original Westminster location (with a third in the works near downtown), and on Friday July 24 (the week after CDBF) Dae Gee will be featured on chef Guy Fieri's Food Network program "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives." We congratulate Dae Gee for their success and invite CDBF guests to try some homecooked Korean cuisine at the festival! http://daegee.com
Shaolin Hung Mei Kung Fu Academy
Shifu Howie Solow of Shaolin Hung Mei Kung Fu Academy in Boulder is a master of authentic Shaolin kung fu traditions, and one of the original founders of the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival. Shifu Solow and his troupe have performed martial arts demonstrations and lion dances since the very first year of CDBF, and their Dragon Dance and parade is a very colorful special part of CDBF's opening ceremony at 10 am Saturday. Read more about SHMKF at their website: http://www.shaolinhungmei.org
Mudra Dance Studio
Mudra Dance Studio has performed classical and contemporary Indian dance at CDBF for 14 years and this year, the troupe will appear 11 times over the weekend, from the Main Stage to the Explore Asia Stage at Gateway to Asia, the Cultural Unity Urban Arts Stage and Dragonland childrens' stage. Be sure to attend the encore performance of Mudra Dance Studios' 2014 stage showcase performance, "Gyaan," which is a powerful artistic statement on the tumultuous state of the world today, told with exuberant dance, spoken word, visually striking film and images, and emotional content. The performance was sold out last fall; "Gyaan" will be performed again at the Lakewood Cultural Center from Aug. 14-16: http://www.mudradancestudio.us/gyaan/