2008 Dragon Boat race/Photo courtesy Cecilia Fernandez
The 32nd annual Lotus Festival is scheduled to take place this weekend at Echo Park Lake but without one of its signature events, the Dragon Boat Races. The sight of the colorful boats – pairs of metal skiffs that were tied together and decorated with dragon heads and tails – was always a crowd pleaser. Crew members on racing teams with such names as Fresh off the Sushi Boat and the CD 13 Garcettians came from throughout Southern California to compete on the second weekend of July. Many were looking forward to this year’s races after last year’s were canceled. But, for reasons that remain unclear, this year’s competition was also scuttled.
Former Echo Park resident Cecelia Fernandez, who now lives in San Diego County, was informed of the cancellation before her team – the Krazy 8s – were scheduled to practice at the end of June. In 2008, when the last Dragon Boat Races were held, the Krazy 8s beat the previously undefeated Echo Park Locals and ended up taking a Third Place trophy. Fernandez, who grew up a block away from Echo Park Lake on Bonnie Brae Street, said she and her fellow Krazy 8s crew members will have to wait until another Lotus Festival to compete again.
“The Dragon Boat races brought in big crowds of people, which brought in revenue,” Fernandez said by email. ” I am just glad that we still hold the trophy for community and we went out as champs.”