Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival returns to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

Photo courtesy of Lotus Chau

In celebration of the “Year of the Snake,” the organizing committee of the 23rd Annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in New York (HKDBF-NY) announced that this year’s competition is to be held on Saturday, August 10 and Sunday, August 11 in Meadow Lake, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park — rain or shine. Admission is free.

It will feature cash and prizes for competitors in this year’s US Dragon Boat Open Championship.

HKDBF-NY is an international, multicultural celebration and sporting event, the largest multicultural festival in New York and the largest festival of its kind in the U.S.  HKDBF NY keeps up the age-old tradition of Dragon Boat Racing in colorful, custom made teak boats, which are virtual works of art gliding on water. Custom made by a small coterie of craftsmen in Hong Kong, weighing one ton each, colorfully painted with a dragon head at the front and dragon tail at the rear, the boats are piloted by up to 20 crewmen, including 18 paddlers, a drummer and steers person.

For 22 successful years HKDBF-NY has attracted a diverse, multi-cultural audience of more than 50,000 attendees throughout North America.

With more than 180 well-trained teams, involving more than 2,500 participants competing from across the U.S. and Canada, this year’s festival is expected to be notable in its scale and fierce competition.

With cash and prizes at stake for the US Dragon Boat Open Championships, the festival takes place over two days on the site of the 1964 World’s Fair, featuring events for the entire family. The opening day parade at noon on Saturday, Aug. 10and will be followed by the New York City Championship Races. The U.S. Dragon Boat Open Championship will be held on Sunday, August 11 with the teams vigorously competing for their share of the cash and prizes.

Racing starts at 9 a.m. and events last throughout the day until approximately 5 p.m. each day, rain or shine.

Other festival events consist of the media invitational, corporate youth, charity race, women’s invitational, and sponsors challenge, a photo contest as well as presentations on the stage of traditional Chinese arts, martial arts demonstrations, the traditional Dragon Dance, musical and other diverse performances and demonstrations of folk arts and crafts. An ethnic food court and booths staffed by sponsors of the event, many of whom will be giving away promotional items, and many community-based organizations participating help make for a unique, action packed, multi-cultural, New York weekend.

The tradition of Dragon Boat Racing is an annual Chinese rite commemorating the idealistic poet and reformer Qu Yuan who drowned himself in the third century B.C. to protest against his emperor’s policies. The locals raced in their boats in an attempt to rescue the poet. To prevent fish and water dragons from eating his body, the locals beat their drums and splashed their paddles. This was the beginning of Dragon Boat Racing.

Admission to the HKDBF-NY is free, events take place rain or shine.


Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival 2013 Entertainment On The Verizon Fios Stage

SATURDAY, August 10

10:30 AM – 11:30 AM  Chinese Music Ensemble of New York

Founded in 1961 this Ensemble is the oldest and only full Chinese orchestra in the United States and the Americas.  Its present membership of nearly fifth musicians plays practically every type of Chinese music on Chinese instruments, both ancient and modern.  In this performance a smaller ensemble plays a selection of their repertoire complete with drums and cymbals.

11:30 AM – 12:30 PM Opening Ceremonies

Lions and Dragon Dancing Teams with Percussionists welcome all and, together with invited dignitaries, officially kick-off the 23nd annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in New York

1:00 PM – 1:30 PM  BAAM

Formed in the summer of 2011 with the stated goal of gathering some of New York’s top young musicians and songwriters into one group, BAAM is an energetic indie rock band with a strong Blues and jazz influence. The seven band members have performed with some of the world’s top musicians.

1:30 PM – 2:30 PM   I Giullari di Piazza

Tarantella songs and dances from the rich culture of South Italy.

2:30 PM – 3:30 PM   Shaolin Masters

Warrior monks from the Shaolin Temple perform martial arts.  In the history of the Shaolin Temple, founded in 495 AD, generation after generation of monk generals and soldiers protected the temples from wars and riots of society.


SUNDAY, August 11

10:30 AM – 11:30 AM American Tap Dancing

Professionals and students entertain with the unique American art form of tap dancing, also known as hoofers.

11:30 AM – 12:30 AM   The Bailen Brothers

Twin brothers, vocalists and instrumentalists, David (on drums) and Daniel (on bass), lead the band with their pop, R&B, and Rock music.  Their albums focus on achieving great songs with sing-able melodies that are both stimulating compositionally and lyrically.

12:30 PM – 1:30 PM   Mariachi Agulia y Plata. 

This popular Mariachi band’s lively and energetic performance will have all dancing

1:30 PM – 2:30 PM   Mawuena Kodjovi Trio

The music of the  African Brothers Collective is a colorful, vibrant and inviting journey into traditional and modern West Africa. Powerful rhythms, soothing melodies and dances from the mother land will move you body and soul.

2:30 PM – 3:30 PM  Shaolin Masters

Warrior monks from the Shaolin Temple perform martial arts.  In the history of the Shaolin Temple, founded in 495 AD, generation after generation of monk generals and soldiers protected the temples from wars and riots of society.

The Balloon Man (Twister) and face painter returns to the delight of all.  Find them in the Arts & Crafts Tent.


15+ artists will be demonstrating traditional Chinese crafts including calligraphy, rice doll making, bead stringing, kite making, jeweled ornaments, ribbon flowers, paper cutting and much more.  Children will be able to try their hand at making their own crafts.


Visit the non-profit tent for information on programs and services.


Alley Pond Environment

Boy Scouts of America

China Institute

Flushing Town Hall,

Girl Scouts of America

Queens Library


Asian Society





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