Aug. 31 2011 12:00 AM

Bands, Dragon Boat races, food, a bit of union history — they’re all part of the Mosaic Music Festival


Much like mosaic art itself, the Michigan Mosaic Music
Festival combines diverse events together, creating one vast fest in
Lansing’s Adado Riverfront Park. 

The Labor Day weekend outdoor event, now
in its second year, features everything from live music and ethnic
dancing to Dragon Boat races and fireworks. Mayor
Virg Bernero hosts the Mayor’s Labor Walk at 2 p.m. Saturday, which
starts at the pedestrian bridge in Adado Riverfront Park. 

Other attractions include a beverage tent, food vendors, a
car show, motorcycle show, and a 5k run/walk. The event is produced by
the Michigan Institute for Contemporary Art, with support from the City
of Lansing.

Among the acts set to perform are the Tejano band La
Corporacion, the rockabilly sounds of Delilah DeWylde & the Lost
Boys, Italian-folk singer Pino Marelli and local soul/gospel veteran
Orrick Ewing. Also taking the stage will be African and Korean drum

Eclectic entertainment aside, the celebration honors Labor
Day with a Union Tent, including the booths of a local unions,
displaying their contributions to Lansing’s past and present. 

Mike Skory, a MICA coordinating committee
member and one of the many organizers of the Mosaic Music Fest, said
the union aspect to the event is about Michigan’s history.

“It’s not going to be like a lecture —
you can meet representatives from the unions and fire questions at
them,” Skory said. “A lot of people do not know the histories of the
unions and how they contributed to the success of the middle class in
Michigan for a long time. 

“We tend to look at life and history and
only go back a year or two,” he added. “But when you look at the big
picture you see how unions fit in.”

Something new to Lansing is the Capital
City Dragon Boat Race, happening across the river from Mosaic. The race
is sponsored by the Mid-Michigan Environmental Action Council. It’s a
2,000-year-old Chinese tradition that’s become a growing water sport in
North America. 

This race is open to the public, but
space is limited. The cost is approximately $45 per person and proceeds
go to Mid-Michigan Environmental Action Council. Spectators can watch
from the east and west banks of the Shiawassee Street Bridge. 

“We race 40-foot long boats with the head
and tail of a dragon,” said Julie Powers, director of Mid-MEAC. “Twenty
people are in the boat, and they race down the Grand River for 300
meters, and whoever catches the flag first wins.”

Powers said she feels the Dragon Boat Race and Mosaic make a perfect pair.

“We’re two separate events but we decided
to do it at the same time,” Powers said. “We’re really glad to have the
Mosaic Music Fest going on at the same time. It’s such a diverse event
that celebrates different cultures; our races are all about Chinese
culture, so we thought it was a great tie-in.” 

Skory said the MICA committee, which also
produces JazzFest and BluesFest in Old Town, also has a deeper reason
for hosting such events. 

“Our belief has always been: if you
present quality arts — music, visual art, performance art — people are
going to want to live where that’s going on,” said Skory, who is also a
veteran musician. “I think if you look around the country you see it.
People tend to gravitate toward that. People want to be there.”