Despite organizers’ early optimism, The Dragon Boat Festival held annually at Sloan’s Lake has been cancelled for 2021. The organization said they did not make the decision lightly but felt it was the right call “after weighing the health and safety of our community, volunteers, dragon boaters, and performers (many of whom are children under the age of 12 and/or family members), and also considering the current closure of Sloan’s Lake due to the health risks posed by a blue-green algae bloom.”
Board Chair Janet Shih Hajek explained, “it was a very difficult decision to cancel the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival this year. The safety and health of our community will always be our top priority. We look forward to safely bringing back the largest AAPI celebration in 2022 pending the COVID-19 situation.”
The lake closed in late July due to the algae bloom that is dangerous for everyone and often lethal to pets. Denver Parks erected signs warning passerbys of the danger. A spokesperson for the Department told The Denver North Star that they are treating the lake, and they are seeing some improvement. The lake was tested weekly and reopened September 10 after the test showed results that met Colorado Department of Health & Environment standards.
Park officials are hopeful that the lake’s health will continue to improve, especially as weather begins to cool since warmer temperatures encourage more algae growth.
Jamming on the Jetty, a live music event on September 18, is still moving forward according to organizers, with proceeds going to the Sloan’s Lake Park Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on promoting clean water and making the lake and surrounding park more sustainable and friendly to guests.
On the south end of the park, several improvement projects are moving forward. Denver Parks and Recreation is replacing the playground and tennis courts, including adding a pickleball court. The project is also geared at increasing accessibility and the area will have more picnicking options when finished. Construction began shortly after Labor Day and is expected to be completed by the fall of 2022; access to the area is limited during the project. The overall cost is expected to be approximately 3.5 million dollars.