Dragon Boat Festival in Flushing Meadows

Thar Be Dragons on Meadow Lake?

Dragon boat race
Photo (c) John Roleke

The Dragon Boat Festival on Meadow Lake in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park is an annual tradition now in its 22nd year. This August 9 and 10, 2014, over 170 teams will compete for prizes. Each team competes by rowing a "dragon boat," a narrow boat decorated like a Chinese dragon with a colorful head and tail.

There will be music, dancing, martial arts demonstrations, and more. Bring a chair and a sun-shading umbrella, and grab a prime space at the waterside pavilion on the north side (closest to Unisphere) of Meadow Lake. Last year the food vendors were overwhelmed by demand, so pack snacks.

What We Like - Dragon Boat Festival at Flushing Meadows

  • The water! It's the only time of the year that Meadow Lake gets any respect.
  • The warm welcome to an ethnic tradition. The audience for the Dragon Boat has grown beyond the ethnic Chinese community in nearby Flushing. Though I wouldn't call it a "multi-cultural" event, the festival does attract a wide variety of spectators -- and welcome as participants -- from outside the Asian community in Queens.

What We Don't Like - Dragon Boat Festival at Flushing Meadows

  • It can be hard to follow the competition, especially for novice Dragon Boat spectators.
  • The sun. August in Flushing Meadows can be brutal. There aren't many trees on the waterfront, and you'll need to wear a hat and wish you had an umbrella. Bring: hat, sunscreen, and water.
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