Tag Archives: festival

25th annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival makes a splash in Flushing Meadow Corona Park


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Marcin Zurawicz

BY KIRSTEN E. PAULSON

Sunny skies and warm weather made for perfect conditions this weekend during the 25th annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in New York (HKDBF-NY) at Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

HKDBF-NY is the largest event of its kind in the U.S., and for 25 years it has drawn an audience of more than 50,000 people from across North America. This free, multicultural festival, held on Aug. 8 and 9, is a celebration of the age-old tradition of dragon boat racing, a sport that makes use of colorful, custom-made teak boats specially made by craftsmen in Hong Kong.

The boats, which have dragon heads and tails that adorn their front and back ends, are piloted by teams of 20 people: 18 paddlers, a drummer and a navigator.

Races and other activities began at 9 a.m. on Saturday; however, the festival was officially kicked off at noon with an opening ceremony, preceded by a parade in which dragon dancers and drummers led a procession of racing teams to the main stage, where they were greeted by a cheering crowd.

Henry Wan, chairman of the HKDBF-NY board, led the ceremony and accepted numerous proclamations from local politicians who were in attendance, including City Councilman Peter Koo, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Congresswoman Grace Meng, state Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, Public Advocate Letitia James, and representatives for Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo.

“It’s a privilege to serve the community and to see all these people coming out to enjoy the festival,” Wan said. The ceremony concluded with a ribbon-cutting, as well as a traditional ritual in which the eyes of the dragon that led the parade were dotted with red paint.

Races resumed after the opening ceremony. More than 200 teams and 2,500 participants from the U.S. and Canada participated in this year’s U.S. Dragon Boat Open Championship. Several major corporations fielded teams for the races, including Con Edison, HSBC Bank, Flushing Bank, the Sing Tao Daily, Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch. The Municipal Invitational race featured teams fielded by de Blasio, Katz, Meng, Assemblyman Ron Kim and various New York City agencies such as the NYPD, the FDNY, the Department of Environmental Protection and the Parks Department.

Festival-goers were also able to enjoy a variety of entertainment on the main stage, including dance and musical performances that incorporated both traditional and contemporary Chinese arts, comedy acts, and martial arts demonstrations by Shaolin monks. Japanese and Italian musical and dance groups also put on a show at the festival.

The festival’s menu included typical Chinese fare such as lo mein, spring rolls, and steamed buns and dumplings. Attendees also had the choice to chow down on shish kebobs, grilled meats, pretzels, churros, sno-cones and other diverse foods.

“The recognition we’re getting from everybody is one of our major achievements,” Wan said. “We began 25 years ago with just 10 teams, and now we have over 200. Nobody knew what the dragon boat race was, and now it’s one of the biggest events in New York City. There’s been a huge outpouring of support from the community and corporations.”

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Flushing Town Hall to host food and wine tasting event on Aug. 1


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Image courtesy of Flushing Town Hall

BY KIRSTEN E. PAULSON

Flushing Town Hall will play host to a farm-to-festival food and wine tasting event, The Catskills Comes to Queens, on Saturday, Aug. 1, starting at 6 p.m.

The night will feature an all-star lineup of 20 chefs from the Catskills, Queens and the greater New York City area, including Hugue Dufour of M. Wells in Long Island City; Will Horowitz of Ducks Eatery in the East Village; Ed Cotton of Sotto 13 in the West Village; and Tyson Ho of Arrogant Swine in Bushwick.

The festival will showcase and celebrate the agricultural bounty of the Catskills, with plenty of grass-fed beef, heritage pork, farm-fresh produce and more. Brewers, vintners and cider makers from the region will be at the event as well to pour and serve their wares to guests.

Some of the items on the menu for this event are gigantic tagine of lamb (Hugue Dufour, M. Wells Steakhouse), crispy beef tripe with Sichuan peppercorn and jalapeno (Landhaus), maple cured pork belly with sour cream grits and red pepper jelly (Natty Felder, The Astor Room), and braised short rib with tamarind and fruit chutney (Alfonso Zhicay, Casa del Chef Bistro). Beers from Keegan Ales and Roscoe Brewing, as well as Awestruck Ciders, will be poured.

Tickets for the event are $95 for the public and $76 for Flushing Town Hall members.

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Middle Village dance studio hosts free performances


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy Salvatore LaRussa Dance Theater

The Salvatore LaRussa Dance Theater (SLDT) – The Academy will be hosting the fifth-annual Free Sunday Arts Performances series in their Middle Village studio, located at 66-85 73rd Pl., in June.

During the Free Sunday Arts Performances, sponsored by Queens Council on the Arts, SLDT will showcase six emerging New York City choreographers and dance companies. The performances will be held on June 7 and 14 at 5 p.m. and are open to the general public.

Established in 2003, SLDT is a nonprofit organization that aims to offer professional dance instruction and arts education to a diverse income area that is lacking in arts, cultural and community activity.

SLDT – The Academy serves as a permanent home for the Salvatore LaRussa Dance Company, allowing it to better the artistic, creative and educational needs of the Queens and Brooklyn communities. The Academy is a long-term, innovative, exploratory learning center for children, parents and adults that will bring the joy of dance to the community.

The Academy teaches the art of ballet and modern dance. In addition, it fosters opportunities for active and healthier lifestyles by engaging the community with alternative recreational activities, such as creative movement classes for young children, as well as dance and theater classes for all ages.

All classes are taught by SLDT dance company members, as well as professionals from the New York City dance and theater communities.

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Experience a world of fun at Astoria Park international fest


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

One of the most diverse neighborhoods in the “World’s Borough” will celebrate later this month the cultural traditions of its residents.

The Central Astoria Local Development Corporation (LDC) will hold the first Celebrate Astoria! International Cultural Fest on May 30 from noon to 5 p.m. on Astoria Park’s Great Lawn. It is free and open to the public, though guests are asked to bring their own lawn chairs.

The lineup features song, music and dance reflecting the many different ethnicities of Astoria residents, such as Dahdoo-Music of North Africa and the Middle East; the Bangladeshi Dance Troupe; Spanish Flamenco dance from the American Bolero Company; the Calpulli Mexican Dance Company;  Pontion Society Komninoi Dancers; Ayazamana Cultural Center’s Ecuadorian Dance; Issa Cabrera songs from Brazil; the Japanese Folk Dance Institute;  Niall O’Leary Irish Step Dancers; Banatual Romanian Folklore Dance; and Filippo with the Songs of Italy.

“We are excited to be the recipient of this grant. We thank Council member Constantinides for his vision in bringing an International Cultural Fest to Astoria, the personification of an immigrant community with its kaleidoscope of people from every part of the world,” said Central Astoria LDC Executive Director Marie Torniali. “Presenting so many cultural traditions on one stage in Astoria Park, celebrating Astoria, is an opportunity to showcase traditions of many different ethnic groups. This event also complements our 30-plus-year tradition of bringing the American music tradition to multicultural audiences. We hope to make this an annual event.”

The Central Astoria LDC holds many other events in Astoria Park, including the Astoria Park Carnival, Independence Celebration, Waterfront Concerts and Movies on the Waterfront.

Constantinides provided funding for the Celebrate Astoria! event through the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs Immigrant Initiative, which aims to provide cultural programs across the five boroughs.

For more information, call 718-728-7820 or click here.

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Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival returns for 24th annual celebration


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Images courtesy of HKDBF

Chinese celebrations are coming to Queens for the 24th Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in New York.

The event will begin on Aug. 9 in Flushing Meadows Corona Park with a Chinese ensemble of musicians playing ancient and modern music  at 10:30 a.m. The event is named after the main attraction that involves over 180 teams, 2,250 participants, on boats with a dragon head on them racing each other across the Meadow Lake. The event is divided into the 250 and 500 meter race. The teams compete for cash prizes and other trophies. The festival is completely free and will take place on Saturday and Sunday.

The tradition of dragon boat racing is an annual Chinese rite commemorating the poet and reformer Qu Yuan who drowned himself in the third century B.C. as a form of protest. To prevent fish and water dragons from eating his body, the locals beat their drums and splashed their paddles.

The rest of the weekend will be filled with performances like the shaolin warriors. Masters and students of Shaolin Kung Fu Center headquartered in Flushing will demonstrate their ancient skills.

Across the country, similar dragon boat races will be held to celebrate the fifth moon of the lunar calendar, according to the event’s organizers.

For more information, visit www.hkdbf-ny.org.


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Bell Boulevard to partially close this Sunday for “Weekend Walk”


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

Parts of Bell Boulevard will be closed off to traffic this Sunday for a multi-block party, city and local officials said.

The Bayside Village Business Improvement District (BID) will hold its first ever “Weekend Walk” on September 29 from noon to 5 p.m.

There will be free fitness classes, dance performances, music acts and specials offered by businesses.

The event will be held on two blocks of the main commercial corridor from 39th Avenue to 41st Avenue.

Cars will not be allowed to park or enter from those avenues until 6 p.m.

Bell Boulevard has not been closed off for a community festival in more than 20 years, BID officials said.

A second event, the BID’s second annual “Sidewalk Sale,” will take place from Friday, September 27 to Sunday, September 29.

Officials said the two events are meant to increase foot traffic on Bell Boulevard and promote the wide variety of businesses on the popular strip.

There are more than 400 businesses and property owners from Northern Boulevard to 35th Avenue, officials said, including long established eateries, beloved bars and a host of stores and professional practices.

 

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