Dragon boat festival New York
NYC

Dragon Boat Festival in New York

New York’s 2022 Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival is held annually in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Dragon boat racing emerged as far back as 2,500 years ago, during the Warring States Period (402-221BC). Originating among fishing communities along the Yangtze River in Southern-Central China, it was initially a folk ritual designed to appease the rain gods, encourage rainfall and celebrate the summer rice planting. Dragon Boat Festival in New York is located about a 25-minute walk from the 7 train’s Mets-Willets Point. There are MTA Shuttle buses that take you to the festival site and back.

Location of Dragon Boat Festival in New York
Location of the festival

I attended the 30th annual Dragon Boat Festival in New York that took place from July 30th-31st. It is free admission with vendors and performances, with the race taking place all day from 9am-5pm.

We decided to walk all the way to the festival grounds from flushing, which was around 40 minutes. (We only took that long cause we got lost so I definitely don’t recommend trying the walk unless you like walking a lot). We were greeted with loud music and I was fairly surprised to see that many people showed up.

Dragon Boat Festival in New York
Festival grounds

Flushing bank was giving out free tiger tote bags and styrofoam dragons on a stick. They were honestly so cute and I definitely got way too attached to him. The tote bag is very roomy and makes for a nice shopping bag. The whole area has many locations where they give freebies but all often had long lines.

There was a booth that was doing Chinese Sugar painting, a form of traditional Chinese folk art using hot, liquid sugar to create two-dimensional objects on a marble or metal surface.

Chinese Sugar painting
Sugar painting

Even though it is a Chinese Festival, there were also vendors with other Asian food, like Filipino and Japanese food.

Dragon Boat Festival Food Vendors 2022
Food Vendors

After walking around a little, we sat down and watched the dragon boats in action. We were quite far but the drums that are used to keep the tempo of the rowing can be heard.

Dragon Boat Festival in New York
Dragon boat racers

While we were trying to figure out how to get a better view of the race, (we couldn’t really find a better place since the areas that were actually close to the boats were blocked off.) we passed by all the tents of the different racers. It was really interesting to see them resting off and prepping for the race.

Dragon Boat Festival in New York 2022
Tents of the racers

There was a stage showcasing different Chinese cultures from martial arts, stories, and musical performances.

Dragon Boat Festival Stage  in New York 2022
Stage
Chinese performer
Me and one of the performers

Dragon Boat Festival in New York

Overall, it was super fun and I really love how you can enjoy different cultures and the Dragon Boat Festival in New York. I barely heard any English, and everything was mostly in Chinese and it really made me feel as if we took a mini trip to China. We also decided to rent a bike from a shop nearby and that definitely made the trip worth it. They also had pedal boats which we are definitely trying next time.


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