Every year on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar, the Chinese Dragon Boat Festival takes place. In the case of the New York City dragon boat festival, this would be August 9-10, 2014 at Flushing Meadows Park.
The legend is based on ancient patriot-poet Qu Yuan who was exiled from his state of Chu because he advocated for reform. In 278 BC, Qu Yuan heard that his home had been invaded, so he drowned himself in the Ni Lo River. Local fishermen tried to save him but could not. Next best thing they could do for him was to prevent the fish from eating him. They rode their boats all throughout the river throwing rice balls to the fish to prevent them from eating Qu Yuan.
Today traditionally rice dumplings are eaten. In New York City though, there are rice noodles and fish balls among other things to order at the food court. The event will last the entire weekend beginning on August 9, 2014 at noon with an opening day parade and the US Dragon Boat Open Championship Race the following day. Other events during the weekend will include a World’s Fair Municipal Invitational Race and other special races, world art and dance, music, and martial arts.
The event is accessible by shuttle bus only from the Mets-Willets Point Station, which is accessible by the 7 train or Q48 bus. There will be no parking without a permit in the park’s parking lot so it is better to take public transportation. The event is free for everyone.