Dragon Fest Welcomes Crowds for Performance, Noodle-Eating Contest

by Carolyn Bick

Noodles still spilling out of his mouth, Brandon T. raised his chopsticks in victory. Before anyone had realized it, he had demolished an entire takeaway container of noodles during the youth portion of the noodle-eating contest at this year’s Dragon Fest, hosted by the Chinatown-International Business District Improvement Area.

Grinning around the last few bites of noodles, Brandon accepted his prize with a nonchalant shrug.

Brandon’s win was immediately followed by an adult noodle-eating contest. Adrian Ruiz polished off the competition with aplomb, finishing his large takeaway container of noodles in less than three minutes.

“I came all the way here from Arizona for this!” Ruiz said, as he raised his arms in victory, before walking off the Hing Hay Park stage to sample more of the festival’s foodie finds that lined the streets around the central area of the Chinatown-International District.

Ruiz and Brandon weren’t the only ones to taste the day’s mouthwatering delights. Thousands of people flooded the streets near Hing Hay Park. Some, dressed in cosplay for a cosplay contest later, sought the shady shelter of overhangs and trees along the street, while others dressed in decidedly cooler shorts and tank tops perused the stalls, where vendors sold everything from paper sun umbrellas to cute decals and T-shirts to well-known creatures from different Miyazaki Hayao movies.

Other performers graced the Hing Hay Park stage throughout the day. These performers included Korean dance and performance troupe Oolleemm, Northwest Kung Fu and Fitness lion dancers, several martial arts groups, and the Thai Cultural Society.

Along a quieter street, True Buddha School Rey Tsang Temple monk Lian Jia offered Nicole Zhao’s young charge Emma Wu a balloon. Wu was a little reluctant to accept, until Jia asked, “How about two balloons?”

Wu shyly accepted, and Jia and Zhao both laughed.

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Brandon shovels noodles into his mouth, as he competes in the youth noodle-eating contest, during Dragon Fest in the Chinatown-International District in Seattle, Washington, on June 29, 2019. (Photo: Carolyn Bick)
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Brandon holds up his chopsticks, after winning the youth noodle-eating contest, during Dragon Fest in the Chinatown-International District in Seattle, Washington, on June 29, 2019. (Photo: Carolyn Bick)
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Attendees react to the adult noodle-eating contest, during Dragon Fest in the Chinatown-International District in Seattle, Washington, on June 29, 2019. (Photo: Carolyn Bick)
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Korean performing arts troupe Oollee member Maile Chung, right, helps fellow Oolleemm member Tiffany Ham, left, tie up her instrument, during Dragon Fest in the Chinatown-International District in Seattle, Washington, on June 29, 2019. (Photo: Carolyn Bick)
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An Uwajimaya employee shows a potential customer an umbrella, during Dragon Fest in the Chinatown-International District in Seattle, Washington, on June 29, 2019. (Photo: Carolyn Bick)
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Oolleemm members wait to perform, during Dragon Fest in the Chinatown-International District in Seattle, Washington, on June 29, 2019. (Photo: Carolyn Bick)

Featured Photo: An Oolleemm member performs, during Dragon Fest in the Chinatown-International District in Seattle, Washington, on June 29, 2019. (Photo: Carolyn Bick)

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