Monday, May 5, 2014

Help Bring Back the DRAGON (and don't forget Restaurant Week)

First, many of you heard that the Dragon Boat Club's boat house was caught in the flood last week and took a little swim down the Schuylkill. It's a large shipping container with a mural of a dragon (named Puff) that was painted by the kids at the ACPPA Community Arts Center on Haws Avenue.  (You can watch a video about its recent sojourn at this link.)

The club keeps apologizing about it, but honestly, no one expected the river to crest that high (21 feet!). The last time it crested over 20 feet was when I was in high school back in the Dark Ages. Even Hurricane Floyd, which was some of our worst flooding before this, wasn't this high. The local news outlets and even the National Weather Service were all predicting 3 inches of rain. I heard one say 4, but that it was a conservative estimate. We actually got more than 5 inches in 24 hours.

Another factor was the poor way riverfront development has been done in Conshohocken. All that concrete so close to the water creates a funnel effect, with anything upstream being the wide part of the funnel. And Norristown is what's upstream. Which is why we absolutely MUST be careful how we do our own river development, or we won't have a Riverfront Park, or even a rvierbank in the West End in the future. It'll all wash away.

But I digress. The point is that the Dragon Boat Club's boat house tumbled over the dam and is right now wedged against a tree in the river, right before the Dekalb Street Bridge. It's not in a spot that will make recovery easy. The boat house contains most of the club's equipment, some or all of which may need to be replaced.

Now, I shouldn't have to remind you how much the DBC has done for Norristown. They've brought Riverfront Park back to life. They've sponsored almost monthly events, especially events for our kids, Riverfest and Winter Wonderland. This year, they've gone a step further and are sponsoring other events around town with the Norristown Business Association, like the Family Feud nights, and the Flea Market at the end of this month (May 24-25) at Airy and Dekalb.

So, since the DBC has been such a good neighbor in Norristown, I'm asking you to do the neighborly thing and help them out. You can do this in few ways:

1. Donate online at

2. Come out to support their events. The next one at Riverfront is a Food, Wine, and Beer Tasting on June 13th from 6:30 to 10:30 pm. For $20 per person (adults only) you get the tastings, hors d'oeuvres, local entertainment, a silent auction, and passport raffle. You can find a full listing of this year's events on their website.

3. Go LIKE their Facebook page. It's simple, it costs you nothing, but it's a tangible show of support. AND you'll be able to keep up on all their events.

The Dragon Boat Club has a dream of one day having a permanent community boat house at Riverfront Park. Help them make it a reality by lending a little aid now, when they need it most.

Lastly, one quick unrelated note -- don't forget that this is Restaurant Week, 5 to 10 pm every night through May 11. Go to for a list of participating restaurants. I'm planning to try 3 new-to-me restaurants this week and visit some old favorites. Maybe I'll see you there (just don't get between me and food)


  1. Elena, Thanks for posting such a great piece on the Dragon Boat Club and their Boat house. It was just so so nice and thoughtful. Robin

  2. I was born and raised in Norristown, now living in Florida but it will be my pleasure to send a donation to your Dragon Boat club and support the best way I know how. Robin is my sister and I now how dedicated she and ALL of her members are, it is amazing the what a group of people together with a community and business can do..Good job Dragon Boat team, hang in there and Haws Avenue Park will soon be up and bubbling again with "puff the dragon" Charlotte Reed