Over 200 teams and 2,500 participants from across the U.S. and Canada competed in the 25th Annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival at Flushing Meadows Corona Park on Saturday and Sunday. Teams competed in a variety of divisions for their share of cash and prizes, including five round-trip tickets to Hong Kong provided by Delta Airlines.
Among the competitors this year was an all-female team comprised of members of the FDNY. Each 40-foot boat consists of 18 paddlers, a navigator and drummer.
In addition to the racing action, spectators could take in martial arts demonstrations, tradition dragon dances, and live music, or just eat at the international food court.
The tradition of dragon boat racing is an annual Chinese rite commemorating the poet and reformer Qu Yuan who drowned himself in the third century B.C. to protest the emperor's policies. Local fisherman raced in their boats in an attempt to rescue the poet, and to prevent fish from eating his body, the locals beat their drums, splashed their paddles and threw rice dumplings in the water.
For full race results, visit www.hkdbf-ny.org.