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Queens brings the fire: Annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival returning to Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival
Photo by Dean Moses

The Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival is set to return to Queens as an entertainment mecca on July 30 and 31.

While the annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in Flushing Meadows Corona Park is known for its fast-paced water races on the lake that draw hundreds of spectators, the celebration of AAPI culture also heralds an abundance of fun activities on dry ground.

Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival
Photo by Dean Moses

In 2020, the famed two-day competition was canceled due to the deadly COVID-19 pandemic and in 2021 it saw a stringent reduction in size, trimming it to a one-day affair thanks to social distancing measures. This summer, however, the festival is looking to make a triumphant return to its former glory.

The milestone 30th anniversary will supplement the races with a performance stage, a village of amusement tents and tasty food vendors.

The main stage will demonstrate a variety of multicultural live acts, including dance and music. Shaolin Martial Artists will show off their skills while master storyteller Jonathan Kruk will regale audience members with sweeping Dragon Tales and the Chinese Theatre Works Co. will entertain using giant puppets. This will also be complemented by a host of musical performances, such as rapper Cameron Sean singing, “Stop the Hate!”

Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival
Photo by Dean Moses

Combating the unfortunate rise of anti-Asian hate crimes is paramount for organizers and is but one of the COVID-19 induced issues the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival is attempting to tackle this year. In addition to promoting unity, the event will look to raise awareness for virus health and safety and contribute to the New York City economy. New York State of Health staff will be on-site offering COVID vaccinations and testing.

The event will be kicking off at noon on Saturday, July 30, with a ceremonial parade that sees participants march to the stage where they join in dotting a dragon’s eye. The function will close on Sunday, July 31, with a championship race to decide the year’s top team. However, both days will be filled with thrilling races from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., which will include a charity race that has — over the years — contributed an excess of $300,000 to a slew of local charities.

The pageantry on the lake and the main stage will be rounded off by an abundance of other activities provided by local sponsors, such as a special exhibition featuring illustrations from Atella So that will celebrate the rich culture of Hong Kong. Games can be played, and prizes can also be won at the Hong Kong Economic Trade tent. As a sponsor, The Queens Courier will also be on hand joining the likes of Sing Tao, Good News Broadcast and Multicultural Radio Broadcasting.

Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival
Photo by Dean Moses

Representatives from the Mayor’s Office for Prevention of Hate Crimes, NYPD Community Affairs, the NYC Commission of Human Rights will also attend to offer helpful information.

Those looking to munch down on tasty meals and beverages while watching the action can enjoy delectable treats from food trucks like Kim’s Korean BBQ, Cousins Lobster Truck, Halal Truck and more.

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