March 16, 2001

Demise of the Dragon

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Powered by the feet of its faithful architecture students, the star of Dragon Day graced central campus yesterday. Traffic was restricted so that other Cornellians could join in the parade.

The yellow, red, and orange dragon then was set on fire in the Arts Quad amid snowball fights and people shouting “Burn! Burn!”

“It seems bigger than I had expected. I thought that it looked good — I was impressed,” Malia Jackson ’02 said. “I probably should be doing work, but it’s been a long-standing tradition.”

Costume-clad students from the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning ran around the dragon. Their attire ranged from Transformers to a monolith. Some people wore handmade dragon headdresses.

“Individual people had themes,” said Michelle Granick ’04.

One concern for the students was the continuous snowball fights that ensued against the dragon and onlookers. One such attack occurred in front of the Andrew Dickson White House. It was dissembled by Dragon Security, a group of students and adults. The skin of the dragon was badly damaged by the snowballs.

“Throwing snowballs is stupid because everyone is getting hurt,” Granick said.

Others had no problem with the snowballs.

“It’s better than eggs and rocks,” said Deney Lam ’01.

Some students pulling the dragon through the streets were unhappy since they were indirect targets of the snowballs.

“I was covered with ice when I got from underneath the dragon,” said Stephanie Horowitz ’04.

Yet, students said they felt a sense of school spirit as they marched along with the dragon.

“I think that it is great. We like going to a big school because of things like this,” said Emily Smith ’04.

The dragon’s journey had a rocky start. The parade was delayed for approximately half an hour while the architecture students made last-minute repairs. Music blared from the windows of Rand Hall as students waited on the barricaded University Avenue and the steps of Baker Laboratory.

“When we initially moved the dragon, it hit a lamp post and the wire holding the head to the body snapped,” Horowitz explained.

After the problem was fixed, the students steered the dragon in the direction of the engineering quad. The Phoenix Society, a group of engineering students that typically tries to match the architects’ creativity, countered the dragon with their construction of a cobra beside Philips Hall.

“I think that it was received well. In past years, people didn’t understand the Phoenix Society. We’re just trying to show how we are creative too,” said Will Stokes ’02.

Students tugged on wires to make the head and jaw of the black cobra move. They used car lights for the eyes.

“The head was supposed to move back and forth and the neck was supposed to move so that it would look like the cobra was attacking the dragon,” Stokes said. “The head was too heavy, so we couldn’t make the neck move. We had tremendous support — you couldn’t hear the architecture students as they came [towards the engineering quad] since the engineering students were so loud.”

Archived article by Kelly Samuels