If you have not seen a 30-foot-long dragon in person, it’s time you did.
You never know what to expect during the Chinese New Year parade in early February on Main Street in Hot Springs. This will be the ninth year for the celebration, the first one back in 2011. This year’s event is this Saturday, Feb. 9 and begins at 4 p.m. Preceding the parade will be a doggie show and costume contest. So bring your pets to be part of the fun of it all.
History shows that Curt Kruse designed the original and brilliantly colored dragon — carried through town during the parade. It was patterned after Chinese New Year celebrations in places like San Francisco and New York. That first year, about a dozen people showed up at the old Hot Spring gymnasium for “dragon practice.” After all, it takes lots of planning and teamwork to keep the dragon on the move.
The dragon’s body was built using a 25-foot-long piece of 14-inch flexible ducting — covered in fabric that was stretched out and painted in purples, reds, oranges and yellows, according to a newspaper story in February 2011 — the Year of the Rabbit.
It was not the first Chinese dragon in Hot Springs. The first one was constructed about two years earlier
ACCORDING TO a report, Nick Barber was recruited to be first in line and hold up the dragon’s head for the 2011 celebration. That honor, or dragon leader, this year goes to Jason Moore, with Montana Co-op & Kids Co-op.
“I’m looking forward to being the Rooster this year,” Moore said. “It takes someone tall to hold up the long neck (of the dragon). We’re working diligently at the Hot Springs Senior Center making many animal costumes, especially pig notes, ears and tails.”
For awhile now, every Sunday afternoon, there were costume workshops and “kazoo band” practice for the “monkey band.” So there will be “monkey business” again for this year’s Chinese New Year parade.
“It will be a lot of fun. Come get involved, participate and hang out for the parade,” Moore said.
For more information, contact Linny Gibson at 306-741-2147 or 406-741-4748.