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HK Dragon Boat Festival radiates from New York on its 25th Anniversary (with photos)

     The silver jubilee of the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in New York has been celebrated with the opening bell ringing at the New York Stock Exchange and the dragon boat awakening ceremony in Times Square in July, followed by festive colour lighting at the Empire State Building in Manhattan yesterday (August 8, New York time).

     Sponsored by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, New York (HKETONY), the annual festival registered a record number of over 200 teams competing for various trophies in Flushing Meadows Corona Park on August 8 and 9.

     Mayor of New York City, Mr Bill de Blasio proclaimed August 8 and 9 as "Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in New York Days". The Governor of New York State, Mr Andrew Cuomo, gave a citation to congratulate the 25th Anniversary.

     Speaking at the opening ceremony on August 8, Director of HKETONY, Mr Steve Barclay, said the festival had grown to become one of the largest events of its kind in North America since its initiation in 1991. Recognised as one of the Top 20 New York City area events and festivals, the energy packed races and carnival is a celebration of music, dance and craft displays of different cultures. It has become one of New York's signature calendar events.

     To cater for the record number of participating teams, the HKETONY sponsored the purchase of six new boats to add to the existing fleet of 30. The HKETONY also funded the rental of a large outdoor TV screen which allowed live screening of the race action, as well as videos of the latest "Our Hong Kong" titles.  

     A new feature of the land-side entertainment provided by the HKETONY was an illustrated backdrop of Hong Kong's Sai Kung seafront. The comic cutout was designed by American illustrator Michael Sloan. Long queues of families waited to take pictures with the backdrop, which produced a perfect souvenir of a great family day out.

     Many local dignitaries joined the earlier dragon boat awakening ceremonies in July and the opening ceremony today. They included US Congresswoman Ms Grace Meng, President of Borough of Queens, Ms Melinda Katz, New York City Councilman Mr Peter Koo, Chief Executive Officer and President of HSBC North America Holdings, Mr Patrick Burke, and Commissioner of New York City Parks, Mr Mitchell Silver.

Ends/Sunday, August 9, 2015
Issued at HKT 13:37


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