Dragon Festival

Lake Phalen is a pretty sleepy place most of the year, but every summer it's the site of one of the most colorful festivals in the Twin Cities. Minnesota is home to numerous Asian immigrant populations—Hmong, Vietnamese, and Thai to name just three—and the Dragon Boat Festival seeks to celebrate the food, dance, music, and craft of all of them. There'll be martial arts demonstrations on the lawn, from kung fu to karate. A whole stage is dedicated to traditional dances from pretty much every Asian dance group in the metro area, accompanied by taiko drums, pan flutes, harps, and more. Chinese noodles, Indian curry, and Japanese teriyaki can all be found in the food area, where exotic spices and reasonable prices abound. The whole fest culminates in its namesake event, the Dragon Boats. Twenty-five feet or so long, these elaborately decorated rowboats race through the lake, powered by teams of rowers, led by a lone drummer. No matter who wins, it's always a thrilling conclusion to Lake Phalen's noisiest weekend. For more info, visit www.dragonfestival.org.
July 10-11, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., 2010

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