The Colorado Dragon Boat Festival isn’t the oldest Asian American/Pacific Islander festival in the Denver area but it has quickly become one of the most popular. In less than nine years attendance has grown from 15,000 to 100,000. Praise has also come from the media who have proclaimed it the “Best New Festival,” “Best City Festival,” and “One of Colorado’s greatest festivals.” (Westword 2001, Rocky Mountain News 2003, 5280 2007.)
With roots going back thousands of years in China– as the “Duanwu Festival”– the Dragon boat festival remains a traditional holiday in mainland China and Taiwan today. Colorado’s version is also a sports competition with 54 teams made up of some 1,350 competitors who skipper intricate and colorful dragon boats and race their way across Sloan’s Lake in a breathless race. You just aren’t going to see anything like it anywhere else in Colorado.
In addition to the races, the festival hosts artists and foods from the region. Go explore Chinese and Hmong dancing; a Javanese wedding ceremony; Japanese taiko drums; Hula dance lessons and Hawaiian lei making.