Dragon boats sail for 26th year in New York
The 26th annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival thrilled spectators on Aug 6 in Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens, New York. It is the oldest, largest and most traditional dragon boat festival in the US, with a record 213 teams participating this year. Six new 10-person boats and several special races featured teams of public officials such as Mayor Bill de Blasio and Congresswoman Grace Meng to the NYPD and FDNY. The festival attracted a diverse audience of more than 50,000 from across North America. Custom-made wooden boats glide across the water in an annual Chinese rite commemorating the third century BC poet and reformer Qu Yuan, who drowned in protest of the emperor’s policies. Legend has it that locals raced in their boats in an attempt to rescue Qu, beating their drums and splashing the water to prevent fish from eating his body.