HKDBFNY is probably one of the coolest events in New York! What is it you say? The Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in New York, of course!

While the official Dragon Boat Festival holiday is the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar (or June 2nd), the event is held in August (don’t ask why, just accept it).

Over 180 dragon boat teams from around the world come to race on the Queens Park Lake. As if the race isn’t awesome enough, there is traditional (delicious) food, live entertainment, martial arts demonstrations from the monks of the Shaolin Temple, lion dance performances, Chinese crafts and children’s activities at the festival (not in the water).

Just as cool as the event is the legend where it came from. Get this! Qu Yuan (born 340BC) was a Court Minister who advocated for reforms; the King didn’t appreciate this and banished him from his home state. After being banished, the King invaded Yuan’s home. Qu was so upset that he jumped into the Ni Lo River and drowned himself! Legend has it that local fishermen raced out to the river to save him, but couldn’t. To prevent his body from being eaten by the fish, they threw rice dumplings into the water as an offering to his heroic spirit. This was the beginning of Dragon Boat Racing.

Go for a cool story, delicious food, or just because it’s summer and this is something different and interesting. Whatever it is, go!