The resident dragon of Fall River, N.S., has a new friend in its lake home.
Dillon the dragon, a wooden-carved serpent, descended into Miller Lake on Saturday afternoon and joined long-time landmark Emily the dragon, another wooden carving that has been floating in the waters since the early 2000s.
The scene was met with cheers and applause from the community, as boats ferried onlookers out into the water so they could have a front-row seat to see Dillon moving into his new habitat.
“It’s a beautiful addition to the lake,” said Greg Ward, who captained the boat that installed Emily the dragon back into the water.
He said the weather made for a “perfect” day to carry on the 40-year-long tradition of putting a dragon into the lake in time for the summer.
According to John Robidoux, the woodworker behind the new dragon, the history of fictional creatures lurking in this rural Nova Scotian lake dates back to the 1950s.
“It just started out as a log with a fork in it, and somebody came around and painted a face on it, made it look a little bit like a dragon,” he said.
Robidoux said different versions of the dragon started being introduced to the lake in the 1970s by a local resident named Patti Snow. He said Snow and her family finally settled on Emily the dragon in the early 2000s after some previous pieces were stolen.
Since then, Emily has become an attraction for those driving on Highway 102 during the summer months.
He says now that Emily has some company on the water, he’s beginning to ponder some possibilities of what the future holds for Fall River’s dragon community.
“We put her (Emily) in there this morning which makes me wonder, with Dillon out there and Emily, … are we going to see some dragon kids in a couple of years?”
Robidoux said he began the process of creating Dillon by googling “how to draw a dragon.” After mapping out the design, he started raising funds to purchase the necessary supplies to build and carve the new wooden dragon. He said local artist Junior Gosse assisted him in carving the new sculpture.
He said his wife Judy added the finishing touches by painting it afterward.
Robidoux said seeing the happiness brought to the community as Dillon descended into the waters brought a tear to his eye.
“When we backed up and saw Dillon in the water for the first time, I really felt it in my stomach,” he said. “It was just such a happy feeling.”
He said he looks forward to driving by and seeing it from the road.
“This is the gift that keeps on giving,” he said.
Robidoux said he hopes this tradition in the community will be passed along through future generations, as he notes, “We’re all kids.”
— with files from Vanessa Wright