What I love about living in New York City is that any day of the week, you can travel to a different country. And this weekend (August 8th & 9th), you can go to Hong Kong, and it's just a train ride away! Head to Flushing Meadows Park for the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival and experience the diverse and rich culture of this beautiful country.
Legend has it that Dragon Boat racing started because of the patriot and poet Qu Yuan. He loved boat racing so much, but the king at the time disliked him and had him banished. His village suffered greatly and he eventually drowned himself in a river.
Because he was loved by many, fishermen tried to race the river to save him, but alas, they could not. So, as an offering to their hero, the townspeople threw rice dumplings in the river. Today, people attach a dragon onto the bow of their boats to commemorate this day and they also watch street theatre, Chinese dance performances and martial arts while eating a lot of rice dumplings.
At the festival in Queens, expect a lot of the same activities. There are going to be performances that showcase the country's dances and music. Stroll through the grounds and check out the many arts and crafts booths.
You can also treat your palette to some Hong Kong cuisine. Non-profit organizations will have representatives to explain the various programs that are going on during the festivities.
On Saturday, there's going to be an opening day parade at noon. The Dragon Boat Open Championship Race will take place on Sunday.
You can enjoy boat races, kite flying and other performances to experience Hong Kong culture. Admission is free so what's there to think about?