Norristown’s first Riverfest celebration on Saturday, a day of fun and fresh air in Riverfront Park, was filled with music, food, the unveiling of the Artists Cooperative for Personal and Professional Advancement (ACPPA) Arts Center’s new dragon mural, and boat rides courtesy of the Dragon Boat Club of Norristown, who, after recently locating to Riverfront Park in Norristown, have begun a campaign to rejuvenate the area.
Riverfest, which took place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., also served as a rededication of the park, and was the combined effort of the Dragon Boat Club, the Norristown Business Association (NBA), Norristown borough, and Norristown Sign-a-Rama.
There were music, food, water balloons for the children, dragon boat rides, and more.
There was the unveiling of a mural ACPPA painted on the
Dragon Boat Club’s huge, metal boat-storage container, of a grand purple dragon
swimming through churning waters, backed by a yellow sun.
Robin Parker, head coach of the Dragon Boat Club, is a big fan. “He’s giving you kind of a mischievous look,” she said of the dragon, smiling.
The Dragon Boat Club has jumped in to rejuvenating their new home by cleaning up trash that has gathered in the area, and by gardening to brighten the area. “We’re trying to do our part welcoming the community,” said club member Karen Flanagan.
“I must say, the borough has been extremely helpful for this day,” said Parker.
The club members have also befriended the local Norristown residents who gather at the park, who have taken to affectionately calling Parker “the dragon lady,” said Flanagan.
According to Flanagan, the residents look out for the club. “There were about six people just hanging around the park and now they’re on our team!” she said.
This year, Parker brought a team to the International Dragon Boat Federation World Dragon Boat Racing Championships in Hungary. When one of the locals who frequent the park found out, he handed Parker a ring, one that he cherished, and gave it to her to take to the championships.