August 2017 – If you have never been to Hong Kong, you may want to plan a trip to the borough of Queens.

The Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival sailed into Flushing Meadows Corona Park for its 27th Annual race in New York City, celebrating the year of the Rooster.

Chinese Dragon Boat Racing is an ancient tradition which dates back to the year 278 BC. The race is based on the story of Chinese poet Qu Yuan.

The New York Hong Kong Boat Festival is the oldest, largest, and most traditional Dragon Boat Festival in the United States. This year’s race took on a special significance as it marked the 20th anniversary of the transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong from the United Kingdom to the People’s Republic of China.

A record number of teams competed in this year’s races, with crowds estimated at over 50,000 for two days of celebrations and racing. Featuring a dragon head at the front and a dragon tail at the rear, the boats were piloted by up to 20 crew members each – Including 18 paddlers, a drummer and a “steers” person.

In addition to the races, New Yorkers enjoyed arts & crafts exhibitions and international foods along with colorful dance and musical performances. Next year, the New York Hong Kong Dragon Boat festival will celebrate the year of the Dog.