Annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic

Photos by Dean Moses

Queens’ premier cultural extravaganza will not take place this summer amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The 30th annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in Flushing Meadows Corona Park has been postponed due to health and safety concerns.

“Due to the continuing COVID crisis, the 30th-anniversary celebration of the annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival scheduled for Aug. 8 and 9, 2020, at Meadow Lake has been postponed to early August 2021,” HKDBFNY Chairman of the Board Henry Wan said.

QNS file photo

Wan said the board discussed the current situation and came to the conclusion that the coronavirus crisis is still not generally under control, with no apparent treatment or vaccine. Additionally, New York City’s phase four reopening will not be implemented until late July and the social distancing requirement will not work for dragon boating.

The Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival is recognized as one of the Top 20 Events in the United States, is an annual, multi-cultural celebration and sporting event which draws tens of thousands making it one of the biggest festivals of its kind in the nation.

In Chinese culture, dragon boat racing is used to commemorate the life of poet and performer Qu Yan. According to legend, Yan drowned himself in the third century B.C. to protest against the emperor’s politics. Locals raced in dragon boats to save his body while beating drums and splashing paddles. They threw rice dumplings into the water to prevent fish and water dragons from eating him.

In addition to the traditional dragon boat competitions featuring more than 200 teams, many with corporate sponsorships,, the festival includes an international food court and live musical performances and entertainment.

“A special thanks to all of our sponsors, board members, staff, media, paddlers, vendors and attendees for their continued support,” Wan said. “Please stay safe. On behalf of our board of directors and staff we thank you all. We look forward to a great event in 2021.”

For further details visit the HKDBFNY website here.

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