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Colorado Dragon Boat Festival continues to celebrate AANHPI heritage

Updated: Jul 4, 2023

The event is the largest AANHPI celebration in the Rocky Mountain region.


The Colorado Dragon Boat Festival, a staple summer event in the Denver community, will return to Sloan’s Lake Park on July 22 and 23, 2023. The park will be filled with dragon boat races, great food, an Asian marketplace, endless entertainment and thousands of members of the community gathering for this AANHPI (Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander) celebration.

“We are the LARGEST AANHPI celebration in the Rocky Mountain Region! We had an estimated 170K attendees last year” says Sara Moore, Executive Director of Colorado Dragon Boat.

With over 40 teams racing, 25+ food vendors, 60+ marketplace vendors, and plenty of performances — the festival is bound to have something for everyone. This fenced in event is free to attend, but donations are always welcome to support the operations and programming of the 501(c)3 nonprofit.


2023 Colorado Dragon Boat Festival Opening Ceremony | Join on Saturday, July 22, at 9:45 am for the official opening of the Festival! The event opens with Shaolin Hung Mei Kung Fu parading its 75-foot long, colorful, traditional Chinese Dragon around the park, the Dragon’s presence symbolizing chasing away “negative energies” and sending good luck, good fortune and a safe day of racing.

After the welcoming addresses, a storyteller will present the history and culture behind Dragon Boat racing followed by a Buddhist Monk and congregation chanting, offering a formal blessing for the event.


Dragon Boat Racing! | Come watch as our teams participate in the fast-paced dragon boat racing competition with two full days of racing. The colorful Flag Catching- Taiwanese-style boats are back by popular demand. Each Boat will have 18 paddlers, one drummer and one flag catcher. Head to the finish line to witness the exciting moment that the flag catcher has to lean out and grab the flag to help win the race!


The Hong Kong style division features a slimmer, sleeker boat that travels faster on the water. Each boat has 20 paddlers. These are the boats and style of competition you will see in international races and possibly soon, the Olympics! Come cheer on your favorite team!


Let’s talk FOOD! | Festivalgoers can satisfy their appetite with culinary delights from Asia and the Pacific at both Taste of Asia Food Courts. Food vendors will showcase an abundance of mouthwatering Asian cuisine from all over Asia and the Pacific!


Shop til you Drop! | Attendees can shop to their heart’s content at our Asian Marketplace full of unique, one-of-a-kind arts, crafts and vendors similar to those found in the open-air street markets all over Asia. New the past few years is the Asian Craft Tent! Also make sure to stop by the merchandise store to get all your festival swag and to support CDBF!


Kanpai! Ganbei! Geonbae! Cheers! | Make sure to stay hydrated throughout the day by purchasing water, soda, and beer at our festival beverage centers! Each beverage center is run by local nonprofits who use the festival as a fundraiser! For every dollar spent on a beverage, that will go directly back to the nonprofit and Colorado Dragon Boat.


Feel the Asian Beat | Get your toes tapping and your body dancing at the three Performance Stages which will feature traditional and contemporary Asian and Asian-American instrumental, vocal, choral and dance performances by well-known local artists. Performances included: Japanese Taiko drumming by Denver Taiko, Halau Kalama, and Indian-fusion dancers, Mudra Dance. This is an interactive dance you do not want to miss!


RepresentASIAN through Art | The festival is all about representASIAN, celebrating the amazing contributions and accomplishments of the AANHPI communities right here in Colorado. Back by popular demand are the live art demos that showcase local AANHPI artists in the community. This year, artists include Casey Kawaguchi, Ratha Sok, Grace Gee, Bakemono 0504, and more!


Education and Empowerment | The past few years have been difficult for the Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander community due to the increase of hate and racism plaguing our nation. We believe that the best way to fight back against injustices is education and empowerment! Visit the section in the marketplace that will host local AANHPI nonprofits and organizations to learn about how you can help and become an ally!


FESTIVAL FACTS

2023 Colorado Dragon Boat Festival

Year of the Water Rabbit / Cat

Saturday, July 22, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. |Sunday, July 23rd, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sloan’s Lake Park (West Side) – 25th Avenue and Sheridan Boulevard

Free Admission | No on-site parking | Ride share recommended.


More info at: cdbf.org

Volunteer opportunities are available!

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