Tuesday, July 13, 2010



DENVER (May 12, 2010) – Whether it’s on the farm or in Washington, D.C., at a senior center or serving for the United Nations, the Honorary Chair and Honorary Patrons for the 10th annual Colorado Dragon Boat Festival (CDBF) are outstanding stewards of service, and mentors for Colorado’s Asian Pacific American community and beyond. The CDBF is proud to announce Bob and Joanna Sakata as Honorary Patrons and Mr. Daniel K. Oh, PhD as Honorary Chair for the 10th anniversary Festival to be held July 24-25 at Sloan’s Lake Park in northwest Denver.

“Nothing makes a person feel better than giving,” states Bob Sakata, who was selected along with his wife, Joanna, as CDBF’s Honorary Patron for the 2010 festival. “You’re happier at home, more productive at work and all that giving will come back to you in great, great lumps. If you really want to feel good, give ‘til it hurts!”

A second generation Japanese American, Bob Sakata has overcome amazing adversity in his life to be where he is today, the owner of a 3,000 acre farm near Brighton, Colorado, where each year he and his family grow 25 million ears of their now-famous sweet corn, plus onions, cabbage and broccoli. From back breaking work on the farm as a child and living in an internment camp after Pearl Harbor to a nearly fatal farm accident that was predicted to leave him unable to walk, Mr. Sakata has continued to persevere. “In life, you don’t learn by the good things that happen, but when you face adversity and you have the character to overcome it, you learn by it,” says Mr. Sakata.

Considered one of the top 100 vegetable growers in the central United States, Bob and his 50-year partner and business manager, Joanna Sakata, are not just successful farmers, they are also amazing stewards of community service. Mr. Sakata served as President of the Brighton Japanese American Association and Civic Chairman for many terms and on a national level, he was also the Co-chairman of the fundraising campaign to build a monument in Washington, D.C. honoring the Nisei (second-generation Japanese born immigrants) military men who gave their lives in World War II. On a local level, Bob and Joanna have contributed to the Cancer Drive, the Homeless Shelter, the Senior Center, Meals on Wheels and the new Platte Valley Medical Hospital. Continual champions of new technology in the farming industry, they have also hosted guests and dignitaries from all over the world on Sakata Farms, including the Emperor and Empress of Japan who Bob explains “wanted to see the exercise of modern agriculture here in the United States.” Now in his 80s, Mr. Sakata remains active in his community, presently serving as the President of the Japan America Society of Colorado.

“I’m flattered to be asked to be the Honorary Patron of such a meaningful project,” comments Mr. Sakata, “and I hope I can live up to the honor.”

The CDBF Honorary Patron position was established in 2006 and is selected by the CDBF Board of Directors. The Honorary Patron is an individual(s) or entity with a proven record of philanthropic and charitable efforts that support awareness and the betterment of both the APA community and communities throughout Colorado. Past Honorary Patrons include MillerCoors, Linda and Leo Goto, Jimmy and Linda Yip, and Anna and John C. Sie.

“My vehicle as a volunteer activist is to serve the Asian people and to reach out to American society to help open doors for them in the state of Colorado and beyond,” states Mr. Daniel Oh, PhD, who was nominated for the CDBF’s Honorary Chair position by the Asian Pacific American (APA) community.

Born and raised in Korea, Mr. Oh was a Sergeant in the U.S. Army in Korea on the United Nations Command Civil Affairs Team before moving to Colorado to study divinity at the St. Thomas Catholic College in Denver. His studies continued at Jones College, where he received his Professional Real Estate and Insurance Broker license, and later he became a CPA through his studies at CU before getting his PhD in Philosophy from Strassford University in London. A commercial investor and realtor, Mr. Oh has helped hundreds of people buy and sell investment properties and businesses around the state.

On an international level, Mr. Oh serves on the National Unification Advisory Council of Korea, a position to which he was appointed by the President of Korea, and travels often to the country to visit with the government to discuss issues and unification between North and South Korea. A leader of the Asian community in Colorado for 35 years, Daniel Oh has also worked with local government, having been appointed to the Governor’s Asian Pacific Advisory Council of Colorado in 2008, a role in which he continues to serve today, and he was also a member of the Mayor’s Asian Advisory Council for the City and County of Denver for 10 years. A founding member of the Aurora Asian Pacific Community Partnership, he helped with the vision that became the Aurora Asian Film Festival for a decade and worked with city leaders to communicate the concerns and open the lines of communication for the Asian community.

A leader of 16 community organizations and boards during his tenure in Colorado, including the Asian Roundtable, Aurora Sister Cities, the Korean American Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Oh has received numerous awards for his service. Some of these include the Asian American Hero of Colorado in 2009; the Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award, Colorado, in 2003; Outstanding Service Award for Peace Unification of Korea in 2007; Who’s Who in the USA in 2004; and the Outstanding Service Award from the Governor of Colorado from 2002 to 2005, to name a few.

“We have 200,000 Asian people living in the Denver-metro area and the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival is our biggest event to open up our community to all of Colorado,” comments Daniel Oh. “It is very good visibility to show our cultural unity and the value of our art, history, music and culture.”

The CDBF Honorary Chair position was established in 2001 and is nominated by the Asian Pacific American (APA) community. The Honorary Chair is a member of the APA community who serves as a positive role model either through his/her public position, volunteer work, and/or level of social activism. Past Honorary Chairs include Judge Kerry Steven Hada, Professor Ved P. Nanda, Dr. Susanna Choi, Bill Hosokawa, Stan Matsunaka, Donna LaVigne, Jaime Yrastorva, John Yee, and George and Helen Yoshida.

More than Just a Race!
The Colorado Dragon Boat Festival (CDBF) is a FREE family-friendly festival highlighting Colorado’s rich Asian Pacific American heritage returning for its 10th year to Sloan’s Lake Park in northwest Denver July 24-25, 2010. A window to the Pan Asian world, this diverse festival is the only one of its kind in the United States. It showcases an array of traditional and contemporary performing arts, cultural customs, cuisine and a marketplace of unique and hard-to-find arts, crafts and vendors, in addition to two days of action packed dragon boat racing. In celebration of the 10th anniversary, the 2010 Festival is dedicated to helping attendees find “Zen” with demonstrations on practices such as Feng Shui and meditation, and the opportunity to experience activities like yoga and massage, and much, much more.

The 10th Annual Colorado Dragon Boat Festival is presented by community partner SCFD Tier III in association with Comcast, MillerCoors, Denver Post and FOX 31 and is supported by Isle Casino Hotel Blackhawk, Pepsi Bottling Group and Your Neighborhood Toyota Stores.

Founded in 2001 to celebrate Colorado’s diverse Asian Pacific American (APA) communities, the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival (CBDF), a 501© 3 non-profit organization, has become the region’s fastest growing, family-friendly summer festival. CDBF offers festival-goers the opportunity to explore APA culture through performances, educational programs, arts and crafts, shopping, dining and the exciting athletic competition of dragon boat racing. www.cdbf.org

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