There are a lot of things we'll miss about Oriental though. It is one of those unique American coastal towns everyone who cruises should see on their travels. While most of America was watching the Times Square revelry, the good people of Oriental were celebrating with dragons. They have volunteers that care for the two Oriental dragons all year. Once a year on December 31st they let their dragons run wild down the streets along Oriental harbor. If you are transiting the area around New Year's Eve it is a must see event. Lisa and I still cannot figure out where all the people come from for these events. When you drive through the town you would think only a thousand people total live in the area. It seems all of them are out for the running of the dragons.
Since the dragons are cooped up all year long the great people of Oriental like to let them stretch their legs for two shows. They are first released at 830 pm. This show drew the biggest crowd. Parents with their children came to participate and make noise with whatever they had; pots, pans, horns, and all sorts of loud clanging objects that were handy.
The 1130pm running of the dragons saw a smaller crowd, but no less enthusiastic. The two dragons made their way down Hodges street and crowds gathered to touch each one for good luck during 2017. Much horn blowing and pan banging was had. After the dragons had returned to their lair for the year long slumber everyone turned their eyes to the Croaker. Oriental raises an illuminated Croaker fish on a ships mast instead of a crystal ball for New Year's Eve. As the countdown to 2017 commenced the Croaker came sliding down a halyard to reach the pulpit as the clock struck midnight.
Last year we were in NYC for the ball drop. We think this year's celebration was even better. While Time's Square for New Year's is a special event, the crowds, security, and standing around for hours do take something away. It was great to be in Oriental this year and touch the dragons for good luck. I'm sure we'll need it as this is the year we sell our houses and everything else we own so we can buy our retirement boat and start writing our timeline. It will no doubt be a stressful and exciting year and we're grateful to have started it off right in Oriental.