Peachi the Dragon at the Oregon Country Fair makes a wave of smiles as she snakes through the crowd, several times throughout the day. The dragon parade has been an important part of the Fair for over 30 years! Hear the band Samba Ja as the excited fairgoers get inside the dragon and begin to take the magic around the fair site. Check out our kids-eye view of the Dragon Parade video here!
The Dragon Parade at OCF
Transcript by Jade Rainsong
(Karen:) All right, we’re backstage here getting ready to find out all about the dragon. We’re near the horse corral. This is in the Chela Mela meadow at Country Fair and the dragon parade is about to start. Folks are back here getting their instruments ready and getting on their costumes… And we’re going to find out a little bit more about what’s happening here at the dragon parade backstage here. So, what’s your name, sir?
(Karen:) Archie. Great. Tell me a little bit about, uh, what’s going on here. What’s the dragon parade is all about.
(Archie:) Dragon Parade was started way back in 87. So this is the 30th year Mo’s, right? Famous sword swallower- entertainment, something or other wanted a dragon, you know, Country Fair should have a dragon. So he put it together with a few people. And uh, here it is 30 years later.
(Karen:) So what does the dragon parade do? Does it just stay in one area?
(Archie:) It is the most interactive thing in the fair, anybody can join the parade anytime and we just do this giant loop. We have this band, great drum Samba Ja, and we just. Trip around the fair.
(Karen:) And then you said Peachi, is that the Dragon’s name?
(Archie:) She’s named Peachi. I dunno where that came from other than, you know, a peach, but it’s spelled with an i at the end.
Huh. Hi Jeff. I’m Karen. Hi. For people that have never seen it, can you try to describe for our friends what the dragon is, what it looks like?
(Jeff:) Just a wild energy. A train of smiles and laughing and, yeah, we just love looking at all the people.
(Karen:) So it’s a people powered dragon then?.
(Jeff:) Um, I think there are eight people in it. One is in the head and it’s, it’s a huge ordeal. It’s a really heavy, but it’s a lot of fun. Um, yeah. And we just tried to move together as a group, like a serpent, in a serpentine fashion.
(Karen:) Can the person wearing the head see pretty well on the trails? They don’t trip.
(Jeff:) Yep. Yeah, pretty well. You can see out the nostrils and you can see out the mouth so you can open them out.
(Karen:) I bet the people watching the parade, get an absolute thrill out of it.
(Jeff:) They do, and that’s what we love is just seeing all of the kids and their smiles. But everyone. So he’s just like going through making this wave of smiles.
(Karen:) And you have a lot of support crew with you with Peachi, like helping to carve the way out of the crowd.
(Jeff:) Yeah, Samba Ja, that drum troop who plays in front, they do it. Gee, they’re incredible.
(Karen:) We heard them a little bit earlier and I’m looking forward to hearing when you guys start up. Two minutes. All right. Thanks for your time, Jeff.
(Jeff:) You’re welcome.
(Karen:) So the excitement’s palpable here as the folks that are gonna run with Peachi, the dragon are getting ready. They’re strapping on their waist belts with drums. We’ve got all kinds of vibrant costumes, a lot of people in black and white stripes and flowers, all kinds of instruments. This is Samba Ja here getting ready to run with Peachi.
(Emma:) Black and white must be the color theme for today.
(Karen:) I think you’re right. Oh, here comes that call of the bell to get ready to get in the dragon. So this dragon is purple and shimmering, with green and pink sparkles on the side. It looks like it’s got scales and mirrors all over. It reminds me of in a Chinese dragon. Yeah.
(Emma:) Like, um, let’s drag in celebrations for Chinese new year when they bring out the big dragon. That’s what this reminds me of too.
(Karen:) Here they go. They’re starting to practice and get ready. Get the energy high. Oh, wow, the crowd is really gathering huge around Samba, Ja and Peachi the dragon as, they prepare to get inside it. And snake all around the Fair. So they’re bringing the energy higher. The crowd is swinging and dancing and clapping and cheering, shaking rattles. It’s an exciting scene. It’s hot, dusty, and sunny, but everybody is thrilled to be here.