At the multi-cultural festival—the largest of its kind in the U.S.—competitors will paddle the brightly colored canoes, complete with dragon heads and tails, across Meadow Lake in Queens. The 22nd annual festival takes place Saturday, August 4 and Sunday, August 5; it is free to attend. The festival will feature the New York Dragon Boat Championships and the U.S. Dragon Boat Open Championship Races in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, home of the 1964 World’s Fair.
The Dragon Boat Festival is commemorated each year on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month. Four days before the festival begins, the dragon boats are taken from their resting places and their heads and tails attached. They are then ritually blessed by a Buddhist monk and later brought to life before the races by having their eyes dotted in red paint.
This year, the festival will play host to more than 170 teams, encompassing more than 2,000 crew members from across America and Canada.
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Below: "Competitors paddle to the finish line at the 2009 Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival." (Courtesy Festival Facebook)