The Rochester Dragon Patrol is a parade unit affiliated with the Osman Shrine, which is headquartered in St Paul, Minnesota. All Dragon Patrol members are Shriners. The Dragon’s name is Chang, and the unit has been seen in hundreds of parades around Rochester, Southern Minnesota, and around the country. Chang is very popular, and when parade-goers see the dragon meandering down the street, they will often respond with loud cheers and applause which will often signal him to come spit some dragon breath on them, especially on a hot day.
The inception of the Dragon Patrol actually started around 1980 with the first organizational meeting taking place on March 25, 1981. The first parade didn’t occur until Saturday August 14th, 1982 at Chatfield Minnesota’s Western Days Celebration.
What is a Shriner?
Shriners, called Nobles, are a brotherhood of men committed to family, engaged in ongoing personal growth, and dedicated to providing care for children and families in need through the Shriners Childrens clinics and hospitals, which we consider the World’s Greatest Philanthropy. Our backgrounds and interests are diverse, but we are bound together by our shared values and a desire to have fun, do good and build relationships that can last a lifetime.
In New York in the 1870’s a group of Masons, including Walter M Fleming, MD and William J “Billy” Florence an actor, talked about starting a new fraternity for Masons – one centered on fun and fellowship, more than a ritual.
Florence suggested the exotic style, flavors and music of an Arabian party as a theme for the new fraternity. Fleming used his knowledge of Fraternal ritual to transform the Arabian theme into the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. (A.A.O.N.M.S.)
With the help of the Knickerbrocker Cottage regulars, Fleming drafted the ritual, designed the emblem and costumes, formulated a salutation and declared the members would wear the red fez. The first meeting of Mecca Shriner’s, the first temple (chapter) established in the United States, was held September 26, 1872.
Osman Shrine St Paul
The heart of any Shrine is its Clubs and Units. Whether it is a club to have dinner occasionally with friends or a car unit that is in any number of parades, each group is where the fun happens.
Clubs and Units – Osman has 14 Clubs, which are generally social rather than performance oriented. Osman Clubs are in Winona, Rochester, Mankato, Austin, Albert Lea, St Cloud and Alexandria as well as several in the metropolitan St Paul area. Osman has 16 Units, which are normally parade – or performance oriented. The color and pageantry of the Shrine is shown to the public through the Units. There is the Oriental Band in Austin. Parading ATVs in Alexandria. T-Bird little cars in Mankato. Go-Carts and Classic Cars in St Cloud. Cycle Patrol Motorcycles, Zagalas Classic Cars, Merry Medic Clowns, Daddy-O’s Three Wheeled Trikes and the Dragon Patrol in Rochester. St Paul has the Drum and Bugle Corps, Bagpipers, Chanters, Clowns, Legion of Honor Color Guard, Mighty Mites Cars, Classic Cars, Harley Davidson Motorcycles and the Provost Guard.