Thanks to our media sponsors KDVR Fox31 and KWGN CW2, our 2014 TV spots will begin airing on those two stations as well as on xfinity/Comcast until the festival!
Buy a Pepsi or a cold Coors Lite at CDBF and you'll be helping to support the festival AND a deserving non-profit organization. The same goes for our Sno-Cone booths or the official CDBF Merchandise Booths -- whenever you make a purchase, a portion of the proceeds will go to the Non-Profit Partner running the concession.
Rob Martinez practices for CDBF with the Wounded Warriors dragon boat race team. The team is looking for more wounded veterans to fill two boats. (Photo by Brandon Iwamoto)By Brandon Iwamoto
When Rob Martinez looked at the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival website, she had no choice but to laugh.
“It says ‘don’t try this if you feel any soreness or discomfort,’” Martinez said. “We are all sore to begin with.”
Martinez, a veteran of U.S. Navy Special Operations, is an alumna of the Wounded Warrior Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the aid and public awareness of wounded servicemen and women. The Wounded Warrior Project, along with the Denver chapter of Adaptive Adventures, is fielding a pair of Hong Kong race boats in this year’s Colorado Dragon Boat Festival.
“That’s why I was laughing when I was reading the requirements, I was like ‘the first three (recommendations) say we’re already out.’”
Wounded by a suspected rocket propelled grenade during the Afghanistan war, Martinez was honorably discharged in 2002 after her injuries kept her from performing her duties with the U.S. military. She suffered a fractured neck and spine, brain injury and numbness. She managed to run away from the destroyed truck with her squad mates in spite of those injuries.
And now, her injuries aren't stopping Martinez from paddling with fellow Wounded Warrior Project alumni.
“You’re all the way out there and you got a team and it’s a team event, you can’t say ‘I want to go back in’ because they’re Army and I’m Navy. I can’t let that happen,” Martinez said with a laugh.
Adaptive Adventures, which caters sports and recreation to physically and mentally disabled people, teamed up with the Wounded Warrior Project to launch a program to compete with their Chicago-based team of Wounded Warrior Dragon Boat competitors.
The boat was funded by the Wounded Warrior Project and requires that at least half of the boat be made up of Wounded Warrior alumni, with the remainder filled with other wounded servicemen and women and disabled paddlers.
“It’s been difficult to find eligible participants who are willing to participate in such a short time frame,” said Chris Wiegand, head coach of the Adaptive Adventures Wounded Warrior Dragon Boat team. The team has almost enough Wounded Warrior alumni to fill the first boat at the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival, though the second will still race even if not enough alumni sign up to race.
Regardless, the team has high hopes going forward.
“(We’d like to) beat the Chicago (Adaptive Adventures Dragon Boat Team) team and go on to Minnesota and hopefully to Hong Kong,” Wiegand said. “We’re going see how far we can throw this stone.
“We want to build a legacy team, but worst case scenario (we want to) get a team willing to train for next year’s festival.”
Training a team of disabled veterans presents its own challenges.
“It’s non-traditional in every way,” Wiegand said, who himself deals with disabilities. “We’re not dealing with athletes, but we’re adding athleticism, which feels good (to the veterans).
“It’s a fun process, since there’s no book that tells you how to get 20 different disabilities to paddle together.”
In the meantime, Martinez is enjoying the experience.
“This is great, because you get the camaraderie and the social environment,” Martinez said. “Yeah you’re in pain, but why would you want to quit when you’re having fun and joking around?”
“We’re all going to come out (of this) together,” Wiegand said. “That’s the only guarantee.”
The Adaptive Adventures Colorado Dragon Boat team is still looking for paddlers, specifically Wounded Warrior veterans, for the July 19-20 festival. No paddling experience is necessary. For more information, please contact Head Coach Chris Wiegand at Chris@sportainability.com. Visit the team's Facebook page for more information.
Colorado Asian Cultural Heritage Center's Lion Dance troupe at the 2013 CDBF. (Photo by Claudia Hernandez-Ponce)You've seen Lion Dances during Chinese New Year celebrations, and at the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival. But you haven't seen Lion Dances from so many troupes in one place before!
For the first time, the 2014 Colorado Dragon Boat Festival presents a Lion Dance Extravaganza featuring multiple local groups competing with each other to promote and educate people about the martial arts and acrobatic skills that are needed to perform Lion Dances. Lion Dancers have to challenges themselves be as realistic as possible, with lion-like movements created by the two people within the costume.
The participating teams are:
Read more about the Lion Dance Extravaganza on Facebook!
Here's a cool video that introduces Lion Dancing:
What is Lion Dance? from Peter K Pham on Vimeo.
The Colorado Dragon Boat Festival is well-known for having the best collection of authentic Asian food, from Korean, Japanese, Filipino and Chinese to Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, Hmong and more. Some festival-goers wait all year to dine at our Taste of Asia food courts, where you can journey through the cuisines from across the Pacific without ever leaving Denver.
Making its debut at the 14th annual festival is the Culinary Dojo, an Asian cooking demonstration tent! This area will feature Denver’s favorite chefs teaching festival guests how to cook some of the most savory Asian dishes originating from all parts of Asia.
One of the chefs teaching in the Culinary Dojo is Leah Eveleigh, who was a winner on the Food Network's "Cutthroat Kitchen" show earlier this year. She got her start as a CDBF food vendor, serving up Filipino cuisine for appreciative diners!
Audience members will get to sample the food, so this area is sure to satisfy your culinary craving!
Have you wanted to try dragon boat racing but never could convince 19 of your friends to join you in paddling? Well, here's your chance -- we're offering Dragon Boat 101, an introduction to dragon boat racing for both adults and children (ages 13-17), at the festival!
You just need to sign up on Saturday July 19 between 9 am and noon at the Race Registration Tent, which is next to the dock where the boats are loaded and unloaded for each race.
You'll have the chance to get on the water and have at least one full race with another team of DB101 newbies. We will provide the on-shore training, safety guidelines, personal flotation device (PFD) and paddle.
It's just about the most exciting minute-and-a-half you'll ever spend (and great exercise too).
Congratulations to Mariah Garlitos, the winner of the 2014 Poster Design Contest!
She's an artist who’s been trained at Hardin Simmons University, New Mexico State University at Alamogordo, New Mexico State University Las Cruces, and Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design here in Denver.
The Filipino theme resonated with Garlitos. “My personal inspiration behind this design comes from both my ethnic background and my life experience,” she explains. “My ethnicity is Filipino and so I connected to that theme this year using the (Philippines) flag as inspiration for the colors and background. I also used to live in Japan and so I sought stylistic inspiration from my experience living in that culture. My image features parts of the flag as well as an illustration of a brush drawn dragon boat. The text also has a brush texture to add to the Asian theme.
Being a leader among the Asian American community did not come naturally for Colorado Dragon Boat Festival Operations Committee member Jen Nguyen. A volunteer since CDBF’s second year, Nguyen was part of the inaugural class of the festival’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Emerging Leadership Program (ELP) in 2012.
“Something I knew that was difficult for me was understanding what it meant to be an Asian American leader,” Nguyen said. “As Asian Americans, there are many different stereotypes that we lumped under and I just agreed with them even though I didn’t think many of them were true.
“By being in ELP, I was able to understand that being an Asian American leader was different,” she said. “This program taught me the importance of self-advocacy and not to represent being ‘the one Asian in the class,’ but to advocate for myself. It taught me that I do have a voice and that I have important things to contribute”
Working her way up from attendee and then volunteer ambassador, Nguyen has grown up with the Dragon Boat Festival and is currently chair of the Main Stage and Band Stage, working with performers to bring a taste of Asian American culture to the Denver area.
“CDBF allows for a sense of community and family,” Nguyen said. “I look forward to the festival (every year) because of the sense of community and the ability to teach that community traditions of so many different cultures. With so much chaos in the world with hate crimes, shootings and you name it, it is nice to know that people can celebrate each others’ differences.”
In addition to educating and spreading culture, Nguyen credits volunteering for the Dragon Boat Festival with providing invaluable experience beyond simply giving back to the community.
“The friendships you develop from volunteering are amazing and it’s fun to see them year after year,” Nguyen said. “The festival is one of a kind and you need to experience it at least once behind the scenes. It’s nice to see how the magic happens.
“CDBF is a beautiful thing,” she added. “With the chaos and the hustle and bustle of the world, it is nice to see so many different cultures coming together to share what is important to them.”