Saturday, June 21, 2014

Return to the Dragon Boat Festival

We had so much fun last year at the Dragon Boat Festival at Eagle Creek Park hosted by FCC-IN (Families with Children from China the Indiana branch) and IACA (Indiana Association of Chinese Americans), we couldn't wait to go again this year.

It's on the other side of town, so it was a bit of a drive, at least for Ashton that is.  She never rides in the car well.  So we brought "reinforcements", several favorite toys to play with.  She decided that her toys needed to have some dance classes.

Then later, she found out we weren't going to see LauLau, but going to the Dragon Boat Festival.  And this is how she reacted.  And she was like this for the rest of the trip!

This year we had Indianapolis' SurviveOars Dragon Boat team join us.  Dragon boat racing began more than 2,000 years ago in China and eventually made its way to North America in the 1980s. Now considered the fastest growing team water sport in the world, it features sleek, slender boats decorated with dragon heads and propelled by 20 paddlers working in unison. The drummer beats out the pace, while a steer oarsperson guides the dragon boat on its course. 

The lndy SurviveOars dragon boat is 50 feet in length and carries several distinctions. The Indiana boat is the first pink dragon boat that long-time boat manufacturer, Swift Dragon Boats of China, has ever made. The boat's head and tail are the first in the world to be custom-designed and painted pink.

The reason these breast cancer survivors are doing dragon boat racing is because Don McKenzie, MD, a sports medicine physician at the University of British Columbia, launched Abreast in a Boat in 1996 to test the myth that repetitive upper body exercise in women treated for breast cancer encourages lymphedema. He believed that following a special exercise and training program would not increase the risk, but would actually improve quality of life. Dr. McKenzie's theory proved correct. Since '1996, hundreds of breast cancer survivors across the world have formed dragon boat teams and are paddling and racing regularly, promoting good health and fun. An emerging body of research suggests physical activity not only has a positive effect on quality of life following a diagnosis of cancer, but it may also improve survival.

We were very honored to have them join us this year.  We even got to raffle spots to ride on their boat.  My hubby won one and got to have a ride.

Next year, FCC is hoping to have its own Dragon Boat to do an actual race.  We're hoping he'll be on the racing team next year.

Once these women rode ashore there was a southern lion dance parading them inland.  I just learned that this isn't a dragon but a lion, for its short snout.  And that it's a southern, not northern lion, because of its short fur.

Ashton was mesmerized.  She'd say she wanted to touch it, then would get scared and say no.  She was like that all day.  She even kept talking about wanting to touch it after we left!

While there Ashton's buddy, Ms. F was there.  She's a 12 year old girl that is just smitten with Ashton.  She was playing with her all day. She's played with her the last 3 events we've gone to FCC.  I think we may have Ashton's newest babysitter.  And she lives on our side of town!

Ashton kept wanting to play with the bubbles, however she ended up washing her arms in the bubble water and would have to go to the water soaker "section" to use their huge bucket of water to wash off her arms.  Ms. F. was very patient with her and would take her back and forth between the bubbles and cleaning her arms.

Ashton also got to meet the newest FCC member, Ms. K.  She's been home 6 weeks from China!!  Ms. K. is only 9 months younger than Ashton! Seeing Ms. K reminded me of Ashton at the Dragon Boat Festival last year.  Both her mama and I think they'll be fast friends.  They live close to us, so we hope they'll do a lot together in the future.

Here Ashton is playing the drum with Ms. F. helping her out.  A lot of the kids had a hoot taking turns playing the drum.  Ashton was loving it so much, she didn't want to leave to get to ms. A's birthday party... which she had been looking forward to all week - she wanted birthday cake!

We made our way to Ms. A's My Little Pony 3 year birthday party.  They even had a pony pinata.  But instead of hitting it with a stick, it had tons of ribbons from it's belly and you pulled the ribbon off.  Only one ribbon is attached to the trap door of candy.  Each kid had about two turns and on Ashton's second turn, she hit the jackpot!

Ashton's and Ms. A didn't really play together, but played near each other.  Hopefully, they'll be more interactive next year or by Ashton's 3rd birthday.

Regardless, she had fun.  She even got to pin the balloons on the pony.  It was in sticker format rather than "pin".  And she put on the blindfold and got spun 3 times.  And she of course took off the blindfold, not understanding why it's on.  But we got it back on her asking her to stick the sticker on the pony.  She stuck the sticker on her chest!  It was funny.  But she took it off and explained to her again to put it on the pony.  Ashton's sticker was the closest one from the group.  I just think it's because she was at the right height for the sticker and everyone else was bigger, thus had it higher.  She won a bubble gun.  We can't wait to try it, Ashton LOVES bubbles!

So between the cake, the pinata, the pin the balloons, and eating pizza, and playing with toys, i'd say the party was a success!  I can't wait for Ashton's 3rd birthday!  And it's 4 months away!
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