2017-08-16 / Front Page

Dragon Boat Festival

Hong Kong Dragon Boats Come To Flushing Meadows


The 27th annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in New York was held in Flushing Meadows Corona Park on Saturday, August 12 and Sunday, August 13, and included concerts, gifts, a parade, and of course, the US Dragon Boat Open Championship Race. 
Photo Vinny DuPre The 27th annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in New York was held in Flushing Meadows Corona Park on Saturday, August 12 and Sunday, August 13, and included concerts, gifts, a parade, and of course, the US Dragon Boat Open Championship Race. Photo Vinny DuPre The 27th annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in New York came to Flushing Meadows Corona Park on Saturday, August 12 and Sunday, August 13. The Dragon Boat Festival featured events for the entire family, an opening day parade, and the US Dragon Boat Open Championship Race on Sunday. There was racing both days, and prizes this year included eight round-trip tickets to Hong Kong provided by Delta Air Lines.

Other special races included the Health Care Invitational, the Educational Invitational, the Women’s Invitational, and the Seniors’ Invitational. This year’s Corporate Invitational had 16 corporate teams participating. There were also special youth, women and sponsor races, plus a Media Challenge and a Charity race featuring approximately $10,000 to be donated to the charities designated by the competing teams. Over the years the Charity Race has contributed over $250,000 to various NYC charities.

The Opening Ceremonies consisted of lions and dragon dancing teams with percussionists welcoming all and, together with invited dignitaries, officially kicking off the festival. The program on the Main Stage showcased the best regional multicultural artists and traditional music and dance from across the globe. The ever-popular Shaolin Monks returned for performances on both days; the New York Daily News brought back the CASYM Steel Orchestra comprised of 90 young members, ages 7 to 21; master storyteller Jonathan Kruk returned to spin his Dragon Tales at the Arts and Crafts tent; in addition there were demonstrations of traditional Asian folk arts and crafts, booths staffed by sponsors and many community-based organizations. The enhanced food court offered several different ethnic cuisines.

Entertainment abounded, with the Chinese Music Ensemble of New York featuring its younger members, some in traditional costume, with solo performances on traditional instruments. Echo Music Jam Band played pop, rock, alternative and metal. They also presented a fusion of Canto and American pop. Valerie Green/Dance Entropy performed Wild Kingdom, Dandia and Chiquita Chiquita, getting audience members dancing and laughing. The Shaolin Masters from New York Shaolin Temple led by Master Chaohai Lan, performed martial arts in the tradition of the Shaolin Temple. The St. John’s Orchestra and vocals played and sang songs from the ‘40s through ‘70s. Folklorica from Mexico presented colorful dances in traditional dress. The Kafele Bandele Group, Grammy-nominated for “Water” and featured on Billboard for recently released “Blue Notes and Green Trees,” provided a background of jazz, hip-hop and R&B and Afro-beat.

As the title sponsor of the festival, the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office of New York set up a large tent with lots of souvenirs for visitors to take home.

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