Dragonfest: A grass roots event that really worked

File photo Two of the younger guests got acquainted at last year’s Dragonfest.

File photo
Two of the younger guests got acquainted at last year’s Dragonfest.

When the email came last summer, we could think of several reasons why Dragonfest wouldn’t work — the organizers started late, they picked a busy weekend, and no one knew what Dragonfest was.

Despite our pessimism, the event  was a success. Families showed up in the daytime, and a second wave of guests arrived at night. Many of them stayed past the time when the party was supposed to be over.

Now Cornwall is bracing for Dragonfest II at the Black Rock Fish and Game Club. The party will begin at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 2 and continue until whenever. Based on last year’s experience, no one has mentioned a closing time.

What is Dragonfest? It’s whatever you make it. Jason Burnham, who contacted us last year, calls it “a grass roots event.” It will include whiffle ball, a scavenger hunt, a bounce house, and maybe a water fight. (There was a good one last year.) But that doesn’t mean there can’t be other activities. “It’s open,” Mr. Burnham says, “for anyone to come and organize what they want.”

They can also bring side dishes and pay a small fee to cover the overhead. Mr. Burnham is optimistic. He’s heard from hundreds of people since last year. And the number of followers on Facebook.com/CornwallDragonfest has doubled.

The size of the organizing committee has also doubled. It now includes Ed Burke, Larkin Cohen, Jamie Hall, Kate McGuinness, Rocco Randazzo and Tammy Sullivan.

The group has invited local businesses to get involved by sponsoring the event, promoting it through their business, volunteering their services or offering prizes. Jason Burnham likes the idea but he doesn’t want to lose sight of Dragonfest’s original purpose of being an event for and by the people. “It’s open for anyone to come and organize,” he says. “It’s only going to be as great as everyone who contributes to it.”


Ken Cashman