The Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival paddled its way back to Queens on Saturday and Sunday for a two-day extravaganza.
The multicultural affair saw hundreds of New Yorkers make their way to Flushing Meadows Corona Park for the 30th anniversary of the festival. The fun-filled fiesta took place on land and water as racers powered their way across the lake in hopes of becoming dragon champs.
But the races were only part of the fun. Attendees enjoyed visiting an array of tents brimming with giveaways, arts and crafts activities, delicious food, and more. They also got to enjoy an array of multicultural music performances on stage.
The event also brought the support of elected officials, including Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, Comptroller Brad Lander, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, and more who cut the ribbon to honor the celebration.
Richards pointed out the importance of rejoicing the festival amidst the rise of anti-Asian hate over the last several years.
“It’s a great day to be out here with each and every one of you and with my colleagues. And of course, we celebrate all that the Asian community has contributed to our borough and we celebrate you and we will never let hate stand in our power. We will continue to stand with you and make sure that you feel protected and every day as well,” Richards said.
Other safety measures were also advocated for, such COVID-19 health, including on-site vaccinations.
As racers prepared for competition, children played with toy dragons at the foot of the waterfront while adults enjoyed picnics. Over 150 teams participated, including teams from sponsors and even from the Public Advocate’s office.
“Over the past 30 years, dragon boat racing has developed from a Chinese cultural tradition into an iconic international event in New York City. It has become a symbol of energy, vigor, camaraderie and sportsmanship,” Candy Nip, Director of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in New York, said in a statement.