Storms couldn’t prevent the 28th annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival from rowing through Queens

Photos by Dean Moses

The rain, thunder and lightning couldn’t stop the annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival, which celebrated its 28th year in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park this past weekend.

On Aug. 11 and 12 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., more than 200 teams gathered in the park to compete in the races, some of which traveled from places like New Jersey, Boston and Arizona according to festival chairman Henry Wan. Wan and his team have been putting the free sporting and multicultural event together for the past 28 years in partnership with HSBC.

According to legend, dragon boat racing started when local fishermen raced out to the Ni Lo River to save the ancient patriot-poet Qu Yuan from drowning. Though they could not save him, the fishermen threw rice dumplings into the water to prevent fish from eating him and as an “offering to his heroic spirit.”

There were a total of 27 races on Meadow Lake, though some of the 500-meter races were canceled due to inclement weather. A full list of race winners can be viewed on the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival website.

This year, Queens civic leaders, including Borough President Melinda Katz, Congresswoman Grace Meng and Councilman Peter Koo, community members and event sponsors braved the storms to celebrate the popular tradition.

In addition to races, attendees clad in rain boots or plastic bags tied to their shoes enjoyed performances by several groups including the Chinese Music Ensemble of New York, the Echo Jam Music Band, the Marine Judo Team of the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program and NY Shaolin Temple Kung Fu Association.

Guests were also treated to a plethora of free giveaways from sponsor booths like Flushing Bank, Macy’s, Cathay Bank, Spectrum, Toyota and UPS.

Check out the festival photo gallery below.

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