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Monkey Balls!!!

July 29, 2007

They’ve dotted the eyes to bring the spirits alive
These ancient dragons awake
From the far east to the west – they meet at this fest
To bless the waters on Sloan’s lake

They say prosperity and dreams will float
For the community and the fastest team’s boat

So I say…
Go, Go dragonboat
Go, Go dragonboat
Go, Go dragonboat
Go dragonboat

At the crack of dawn while the water’s still calm
The vendors prepare the marketplace
Now there is food, there is fashion – performance with passion
As the water chariots race

And along the beach, the young and old
They stomp to the drumbeats, as they’re cheering on those boats

And they scream…
Go, Go dragon boat
Go, Go dragon boat
Go, Go dragon boat
Go – oh-ooo-ohhh dragon boat

Community – Diversity – In Harmony
Won’t you sing with me
Sing it with me
Community – Diversity – In Harmony
Won’t you sing with me
Sing it with me

Go, Go dragon boat
Go, Go dragon boat
Go, Go dragon boat
Go dragon boat

Dwight MarkDragon Boat

So this weekend I made my way over to Sloan’s Lake and the 7th annual Colorado Dragon Boat Festival.  The festival is a celebration of Asian culture, from eastern Asia thru the Pacific islands. The name comes from the fact that there are actual boat races pitting various community organizations against one another.  The boats hold some 20 odd people who row their boats to a drummer’s rhythmic beat.  When they approach the finish line, a person gets up on the bow of the boat to grab a flag from a floating flag holder.  The team who grabs a flag first wins. Clicking on any of the pictures will show you a larger picture.

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I arrived close to lunchtime, so I spent way too much time waiting in line for Monkey Balls and Pad Thai. As near as I can tell, Monkey Balls are made of some sort of ground meat, maybe chicken or turkey. They then seem to have some sort of coating put on them, are grilled and then covered with a bar-b-que sauce. Either that, or they have *HUGE* monkeys in Thailand and judging by the amount of product this guy was selling, many are unable to reproduce. Everytime the vendor sold an order of Monkey Balls, he’d ring a bell and shout, “MONKEY BALLS!!!!” Naturally, I had to try them. Mmmmm… Monkey Balls….

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I also wandered all the market place tents and managed to pick up a nice dragonfly shot glass. There were of course many representatives of various Asian cultures there as well. These first two shots are of Hmong and Southwest China dress. And a couple of cute ABOPs of course.

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The girl in the first picture had on Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars.  I asked if they were part of the traditional garb of the Hmong which got a laugh. If you look in the background, you’ll see a “story cloth” embroidery from the Hmong. Apparently the Hmong had no written language until the 1950s. These story cloths are how they tracked their cultural history. Also at the fest were several Asian miniatures 🙂

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That last shot was from the Cultural Unity tent where there was a batch of B-boys and B-girls break dancing to a DJ. The little girl was maybe 4 or 5 years old and sooo cute. She did the whole crossed-arms-and-grab-your-shoulders-hip-hop-pose at the end of her dance.

Sadly, there wasn’t much from Japan there. I don’t think there’s much of a Japanese community here. I did happen by the Japanese Cultural Society of Colorado tent that had two people in it. The woman there said that this was the first year for them at the CDBF. They had quite a bit of information, in the form of pictures and documents, about WWII Japanese internment and Colorado. During that time, then Governor Ralph Carr was actually a strong proponent of the Japanese American population. On the website, Carr is described this way: “One of the few voices of reason during wartime was Governor Carr, who continued to treat the Japanese-Americans with respect and sought to help them keep their American citizenship.” With that in mind, I’m surprised there aren’t more Japanese here, but there ya go. Amy or Vickie, is this guy any relation?

I also got a picture of some girls wearing the traditional headdress of the famed Polynesian islanders from Balloonesia.


I also got a couple of fun “alternative culture” shots. The first is the winner of the best backpack award, the skeleton of a fluffy pet. The next is of a Chinese crested chihuahua named Spike. Great dog.

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All in all it was a good time in spite of the heat. Plus, you couldn’t beat the price at free. I should look into some of the organizations who raced I suppose, might be a good way to meet people. I wonder if the Japan America Society of Colorado has a team…. Hmmmm….

One Comment leave one →
  1. Vickie Carr permalink
    July 31, 2007 6:47 am

    Hi Greg…
    I don’t know if Ralph is a relative or not…From his pic it looks like a possibility.

    Did you know that Marshall Field made his fortune in Leadville, and that Evanston is named after former CO Governer John Evans? (Also Mt. Evans is named for him and Evanston, Wy.)

    It is fun to vicariously enjoy your adventures this way.

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