You are reading

Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival Returns Saturday at Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Participants racing at a previous Hong Kong Boat Festival (Photo provided by Rick Ho)

July 26, 2022 By Michael Dorgan

The annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival will roar back to full strength at Flushing Meadows Corona Park this weekend.

The event, which is the oldest and largest dragon boat festival in the United States, will take place on July 30 and 31 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Attendance is free and the event will take place rain or shine.

This year’s Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival will be the first time the event will be held at full capacity since 2019. The festival was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic and organizers held a restricted, one-day version last year. The event also coincides with the Chinese Year of the Tiger.

Organizers say they want this year’s unrestricted festival to symbolize the re-opening of the Queens economy following multiple lockdowns since March 2020.

More than 2,000 rowing crew members are expected to race through Meadow Lake on colorful boats which are designed with dragon heads at the front and sleek dragon tails at the back. Each boat is piloted by up to 20 crewmen, including 18 paddlers, a drummer and steers person.

The participants will be propelling the one-ton, teak boats forward by paddling in unison as the steer barks out directions and the drummer beats their percussion instrument in sync with the paddling.

They’ll vie for thousands of dollars in cash, prizes such as plane tickets, and pride in vessels sponsored by multi-national corporations, athletic groups, local nonprofits, and government agencies.

Divisions include the Regular Open, Corporate Invitational, Sponsors Challenge, Seniors Invitational, Women’s Invitational, Media Challenge, Educational Invitational, and the Municipal Invitational, which will include crews from the NYPD, FDNY, and elected officials. There will also be a Corporate Youth Invitational and Charity Race.

Each boat is piloted by up to 20 crewmen, including 18 paddlers, a drummer and steers person (Photo provided by Rick Ho)

There will be plenty to do on dry land, as well. A cultural program featuring live music by the Chinese Music Ensemble of New York will also be held, along with martial arts by the New York Shaolin Temple, plus tales from professional storyteller Jonathan Kruk. There will also be dragon dancers performing.

Sponsors and community-based organizations will also have booths for giveaways, with food trucks also available to serve food.

An opening parade kicks off the festivities on July 30 at noon, while racing starts at 9 a.m. and runs until approximately 5 p.m. on both days.

Organizers are hoping the festival can draw around 30,000 spectators over the weekend, as it did prior to the pandemic.

Festival organizers will also aim to promote COVID prevention with workers from the New York State of Health on-site offering vaccines and testing. The event, organizers, say, also seeks to inform the public about the rise in hate crimes and various city agencies will be on hand to provide information on how to tackle the problem.

Special MTA shuttle buses to and from the festival site will be available at the Mets-Willets Point 7 train station.

Dragon Boat racing dates back to 278 BC during the Ming Dynasty.

According to legend, Qu Yuan, a poet and court minister jumped into the Ni Lo River in Hunan Province to protest his emperor’s policies. Local fishermen rowed their boats out to save him, while people on shore beat drums and splashed oars to scare away flesh-eating dragons. Yuan drowned, but a tradition was born.

email the author: [email protected]
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Borough president hears from community members on budget needs throughout Queens

During a two-day public hearing on the mayor’s 2024 preliminary budget, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. listened to testimonies from 14 community board representatives, community stakeholders and members of the public on where the money should be spent in Queens. 

The public hearings were held both in-person and via Zoom on Monday, Jan. 30, and Tuesday, Jan. 31, at Queens Borough Hall. The testimonials will be used to develop the Queens Borough Board’s FY24 preliminary budget priorities in the coming weeks. 

‘He didn’t deserve to die’: Borough President Richards leads emotional candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards held a candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols outside Queens Borough Hall Monday, Jan. 30 after Nichols’ death at the hands of police officers in Memphis, Tenn., made national headlines for the brutality in which the officers beat him.

Almost immediately after news broke about Nichols’ death, the Memphis police officers who beat him to death were fired and charged with murder. The police department released the body cam footage of the fatal beating on Jan. 27, but many people, including some at the vigil, have refused to watch it due to its extremely graphic nature.

Queens Botanical Garden hosts Lunar New Year celebration with globally beloved Miffy

About 4,200 people joined the world-renowned beloved rabbit Miffy to ring in the Year of the Rabbit at Queens Botanical Garden’s Lunar New Year celebration on Saturday, Jan. 28. 

Queens Botanical Garden’s Lunar New Year celebration included a visit from Councilman Shekar Krishnan, who gave remarks, followed by a program of activities for all ages. Attendees enjoyed a lion dance performance, zodiac crafts, demonstrations, lucky plant sales and more. Miffy was in attendance for photos, story time and to greet children throughout the event.

Mets owner Steve Cohen hosts second community visioning session regarding development of area around Citi Field

Hundreds of community residents and leaders gathered at the Piazza Club inside Citi Field to participate in a visioning session regarding the development of a nearby 50-acre lot. This marked the second visioning session New York Mets owner Steve Cohen has hosted at Citi Field in January as he attempts to collect as much community feedback regarding the development as possible.

Attendees of the visioning session went to a series of interactive stations, sharing what mattered most to them when it came to improving the area around Citi Field, including preferred forms of year-round entertainment, ability to access different forms of transportation and attainable local jobs and training. Information and input was collected from the community in how they would like to see the lot utilized. A common theme among many of those who took part in the visioning session was the desire to see something built there that would bring a lot of economic opportunity to the community and provide year-round entertainment.

NewYork-Presbyterian Queens doctor aims to bring awareness to women’s heart health

With February marking the beginning of American Heart Month, a cardiologist from NewYork-Presbyterian Queens Hospital spoke with QNS about the importance of heart health for women.

According to attending cardiologist Dr. Joanna Troulakis, approximately 400,000 women die as a result of cardiovascular diseases each year in the United States. She noted that women have suffered more cardiovascular disease deaths than men in recent years. When it comes to heart attacks, the mortality rate for women is higher than men.

BP launches new advisory panel for youth to become civically engaged in the future of Queens

In an effort to get more young people involved in civics, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards has created a new advisory panel known as the Youth and Young Adult Council to introduce the “youngest and fiercest” community advocates to both community service and organization.

Members of the advisory body will advocate concerns through means of community engagement by participating in one of two cohorts. The first will be made up of high school representatives between the ages of 13 and 17, while the second cohort will be comprised of young adults between the ages of 18 and 25.