In 1999, the city of Long Beach denied permission to the New Year committee to host the festival at El Dorado Park, where it has been hosted many years prior. The city cited several reasons including concerns for violence from past New Year festivals. Consequently, the organizers of the New Year Festival moved the festival to the Santa Fe Dam in Irwindale.
Dr. Chen asked LARD to assist in creating a presence at the festival by testing the new 10-man dragon boats and having a few paddlers come out for a demonstration and we were more than happy to assist. Most of us had never been to this location before and it was an interesting venue.
The Santa Fe Dam Recreational Area is nestled at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains and is considered one of the many hidden jewels of Southern California. This 836-acre facility boasts a serene 70-acre lake with year-round fishing and non-motorized watercraft usage. [parks.lacounty.gov]
Interesting tidbits from this event. First, the ten-man dragon boats were brand new and had never been used. They were extremely unstable and required a lot of concentration to keep it moving on an even keel. One of the boats had a more serious problem . . .
"Are you splashing? Why is there so much water in here?"
"I'm not splashing. What the hell?!"
Turns out the boat was leaking. We ended up finishing our little demonstration while one of us bailed the boat out.
Good times. Good times.