Dragon Boat Festival on fire in Caz

The last day of June set the perfect mood for local mariners and spectators as numerous sailboats could be seen gliding across Cazenovia Lake -- and just offshore at Lakeside Park, another boating event took place -- only this one included dragons, and was held on land.

Families with Children from China, a volunteer-based support group for people who adopt from China, sponsored Saturday afternoon's Dragon Boat Festival -- an event that is celebrated throughout the world.

"In China around this time of year, and actually throughout the world, all major cities have dragon boat races that originated in China," said Manlius resident Michele Conte, coordinator of the CNY Chapter. "So the kids all make their dragon boats and we have a dragon boat race."

Forty to 50 kids joined in the run, decked out in their homemade costumes made of cardboard boats, shaped and painted into various animals or themes. The children then proudly paraded in front of their parents before lining up to run the short distance back and forth between orange cones.

"It's a wonderful event," Conte said. "Not only for the children because they get to see other kids that are just like them but also for the parents so that we continue to build friendships and can support one another while we're growing our families."

People from as far away as Watertown, Utica and Potsdam belong to the organization, although most of its members come directly from the Syracuse area, Conte said.

"We have 100 families that are members," she said. "That probably encompasses about 400 people and we hope to grow [even more]."

Conte said agencies, because they are so busy, sometimes forget to inform people about the support group, thus leaving newer families in the dark.

"So there's people that go [to China] that may be in town that don't even know we exist," she said.

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