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30 foot long fire breathing dragon boat ferries 25+ people around the lake at Lakes of Fire. Next up - the Chicago River!
41 backers pledged $2,550 to help bring this project to life.

About

$2,550

41

Our Goal

We're a small team of dedicated artists attempting to build a 30 foot long, human powered, fire-breathing dragon boat, to be premiered at Lakes of Fire this year, June 21.  Our mission is to provide a mobile, interactive space that resides on and draws attention to our waterways and lakes. One that is safe, yet provocative, that draws on the myths of our rivers and seas, that challenges the boundaries of "raft" or "canoe" while remaining legally within those confines, and that inspires wonder for both participants (the raft will hold nearly 30 people) and witnesses.  We hope and expect to re-use this craft not only at Lakes of Fire, but on the Chicago River, and beyond.


Our Story

Twelve long years ago, my friends and I built and sailed a giant fire-breathing dragon down the Chicago river.  No permits, no permissions, no special reason - just because it was there.  It was a slapdash, crazy adventure, and a Halloween to remember (you can wander down memory lane if you'd like).  Tragically, the dragon was lost at sea many years ago, and the only thing left is a battered old head.

We've decided it's worth repeating.


Our Plan

So we're building a brand new dragon, this time, to be debuted at Lakes of Fire, a regional Burning Man event (June 21-24).  At the event, it will ferry nearly 30 people around the lake, by day and night.  Shade, lounging, swimming during the day, and paddling, water cannon, flame-breathing dancing by night!  Most importantly, we want to put the time and energy into making this something that's durable, that's portable, and that we can re-use.  We'd like to see it on the Chicago River.  Heck, we'd like to sail down the Mississippi to be honest.  We definitely plan to store it and re-use it, so that the dragon lives on!  And finally, we have a place to store the dragon at long last, so the effort won't be wasted, and won't just be one-off.  Dragons Ho!

We've already put in over $1,000 to get started, and we've built the basic raft.  

We've got the pontoons!  Styrofoam, encased in plywood and fiberglass, designed to hold nearly 4 tons:

We've got hardworking folks:

We've got 1000 container lids!

But so far, all we have is a raft, and we want a dragon!  A giant, 30-foot long, silver-scaled, fire-breathing monster, with a mighty roar, great churning paddle wheels, a 25-foot mast, a great silken canopy, and if there's time, maybe a diving board on the tail.  Oh, and the water cannon - don't forget the water cannon!

We have the experience - we've been down this river before.  We have over 20 volunteers committed to help build our craft, and we have 4 weeks left to make it happen.  We'll take the raft, no matter what, but with your help, we can turn that raft into a mighty dragon.  And maybe, if you look closely on a moonlit eve out your window near the Chicago river, you'll see us, gallantly sailing by.

Your Swag

Postcard (still under consideration):

Shadow Puppet:

The Flag (not yet made, images soon):

Handmade Lamp (basic design, paper may vary):

Handmade Box (many different boxes, no two alike):

Dragon Party at Your House

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Custom Dragon Postcard, signed by the crew at the event.

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    Pledge $45 or more About $45

    Handmade dragon shadow puppet by artist and crew member Andrea Everman. Put on your own dragon show!

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  3. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    ~2' x 3' custom silk-screened official dragon boat flag. Silver ink on black indoor/outdoor poly-cotton fabric. Join the armada and sail the seven seas! Build your own matching dragon boat!

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    Reward no longer available 5 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Handmade original paper and steel lamp, approximately 24" high. Created by Chief Engineer and First Mate Erik Newman.

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    Pledge $350 or more About $350

    Handmade wooden box, one of a kind item (each in different wood). Created by artisan and Captain Neil Verplank.

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    Reward no longer available 2 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    Party (within 100 mile radius of Chicago) with THE flame-throwing dragon head. We will bring the head to a location of your choosing, and impress your friends, family, and most importantly, your neighbors, to say nothing of the local fire and police departments, with your own private fire breathing dragon head. We will bring fire extinguishers - you bring the party!

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Funding period

- (17 days)