Dragon Boat Races August 2006

Dragon Boat Races August 2006

Summer Festival
On Meadow Lake
rush to water's edge, the big race is about to start.

Meadow Lake Boathouse August 06
Leaving the Boat House dock
Two Boats Leaving Boat House dock
Blow Up of Dragon Boat With Full Crew
Racing For The Finish Line Crossing The Finish Line

The annual Dragon Boat Races held at Flushing Meadows Corona Park offers a weekend of sporting events, arts and crafts workshops, live entertainment, and a good opportunity to people watch. Dragon Boat crews begin training on Meadow Lake as early as March. Throughout spring and summer oarsmen and oarswomen can be seen most afternoons honing their team skills.

The Dragon Boats slip away from the Boat House dock, head to the south shore of Meadow Lake, turn and race north to the finish line. Coaches keep pace along side in power boats, shouting commands to the rowers through megaphones. The course, about a mile long and a 1/4 mile wide, is laid out in the center of Meadow Lake with buoys. The judge's viewing stand sits about even with the finish line on the lake's western shore, and from there the race is called over loudspeakers set up throughout the fair grounds.

The Winners, Victory and Glory

A Dragon Boat Making For The Starting Line
Dragon Boats Leave Boathouse Doc
Onlooker watches Crew Paddle towards Starting Line

Strolling The Fairway
Crowding Around The Concession Tents
Balloons Kids and Moms
People Tents Banners and Balloons People Tents Banners and Balloons

The festival, a collection of tents, concessions, displays and florid garniture like banners and balloons is laid out along a half mile of lakefront lawn space from the boathouse to the new overlook plaza. The area opposite the boathouse has a curving double walkway with narrow slivers of lawn between and alongside each, bringing the fair and fairgoers into close proximity. Add to this the bustle of boat crews coming and going from and to the boat house dock, and the busyness around the judges stand - also placed here - and this portion of the festival seems extremely lively and awhirl.

The visitor moves from the boathouse section to the main festival section by crossing over a small concrete bridge spanning the Flushing River, and enters a broad expanse of lawn populated with tents and a stage. This large lawn space is flooded most of the year and only becomes dry and usable in mid-summer. The huge open expanse gives the momentary impression of tranquility, but as the visitor wanders within this tent-city, and people press into the tents with popular activities, the festival's lively atmosphere quickly reasserts itself.

Admirers Snap Up This Racy Duo Deborah In The Camera Lens
Strolling The Fairway
Treading The Narrow Pathways
Balloons Float Aloft

Calling The Race From The Judges Stand

(Photo at left) The judges stand, the focus of the festival when the dragon boat races take place throughout the day (Photo at right)The top photo shows a band playing traditional Andes music. Bottom photo shows a musician on the main stage playing harmonica.

Khanauru Music Of The Andes
Music From The Main Stage

Learning To Make New Things
Busy Hands
Learning To Make A Kite
Paper Making Projects An Arts And Crafts Tent

The festival is first and foremost a sporting event - the athletes have trained for months to participate in the dragon boat races. But the activity that makes this festival very much a family outing is the very popular arts and crafts community happenings, walk into a tent empty-handed and walk out with an interesting item you made yourself.

People roamed the fairgrounds carrying all sorts of handmade objects, items like kites, jewelry and jeweled flowers were particularly prevalent. There were also a number of exquisite, handmade items on display solely to admire. All in all, the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Races Festival at Flushing Meadows Corona Park is the perfect place for a family day out. If you missed the 2006 Festival, make it a point to come this year - it's a unique New York experience.

Display of Exquisite Miniature Dolls

Teaching The Joy Of Useful Hands
Butterfly Face
Teaching The Craft Of Kite Making


Many photos above were contributed by Deborah L. Davis of Forest Hills.

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