Dragons roar in New York

The Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in New York (HKDBF-NY) roared back to full capacity at Flushing Meadows Corona Park to celebrate its 30th anniversary this year. Speaking at the opening ceremony (July 30), Director of Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, New York (HKETONY), Candy Nip, thanked the organizer, sponsors, paddlers, volunteers and participants for their relentless support to the festival, making it the largest dragon boat event in the US. Over 170 teams, involving more than 1,500 competitors from across the US participated in the two-day festival.

In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), a special “HKSAR 25th Anniversary Challenge Race” was dedicated to mark this momentous occasion. The HKETONY also organized a mini exhibition to showcase the city’s intangible cultural heritage through the colorful work of Hong Kong illustrator Stella So. Other fun-filled activities included music and dance performances by multicultural artists, arts and crafts stalls, and international food delights.

On the eve of the HKDBF-NY (Jul 29), Ms. Nip joined organizers and sponsors of the festival to ring the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange. To herald the return of the festival to its full-scale, a “dragon awakening ceremony” was held in Times Square on July 13.

This year, dragon boat race paddlers also raised a total of US$9,000 for three local New York non-profit organizations. Over the last 30 years, the Festival, along with its racing teams and sponsors, has raised over US$350,000 to support these non-profits.

The celebration of the 30th anniversary of HKDBF-NY culminated in a gala dinner (Aug 4), co-hosted by the HKETONY and the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in New York Incorporation. Addressing the gala dinner, Ms Nip thanked the participating teams, sponsors, volunteers and media partners for their support in making the festival a resounding success.

The HKETONY, the festival benefactor, first introduced the modern dragon boat racing to New Yorkers with 10 teams competing on the Hudson River, off Battery Park City. Since then, the festival has grown to become the largest dragon boat festival in the US as it marked its 30th Anniversary of the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in New York this year.