Dragon Boat Festival in North America

Dragon Boat Festival in North America

1)  Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival

Where - Vancouver, Canada

When - June 11 & 12

The Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival is exactly what one dreams of in a traditional cultural festival, where Taoist priests awaken the dragon spirit in a ritual to kick off the two-day affair. After securing bikes with a free lock, you can shop a marketplace of artisanal goods and snack on global bites. Big-screen enthusiasts will enjoy the new film program, which includes an inspiring story of a local, visually impaired team.

2)  Rose Festival Dragon Boat Race
Where - Portland, Oregon

When - June 11 & 12

The Portland Rose Festival Dragon Boat Race is much more than the battle of authentic Taiwanese dragon boats. While you’re smack dab in the middle of Portland’s renowned Rose Festival, catch the Rose Show of 4,000 breathtaking blooms the day before the races. All weekend, you can get an up-close look at the elaborate parade floats marching on Saturday morning, then retreat to the beer garden to cool off.

3)  Boston Dragon Boat Festival 

Where - Boston, Massachusetts
When -June 12

The Boston Dragon Boat Festival is a playground for crafts lovers, with participatory workshops like making zhong zi, folding Chinese origami paper into butterflies and boats, and decorating opera masks. Give the creative juices a break at a traditional lion dance, yo yo show, and cultural dances from all over Asia.

4)  Hortons Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival

Where - Ottawa, Canada
When - June 17-19

Tim Horton’s Ottowa Dragon Boat Festival is a great budget solution for family fun. The lively children’s area is full of carnival favorites from magician acts to balloon sculptors, with a reptile showcase for the brave-hearted. For the grown ups, a beer garden makes performances from stars like Steve Page, former Barenaked Ladies band member, all the more enjoyable. We especially love the green initiatives like the recycling program, water bottle stations, and bike parking.

5)  Toronto International Dragon Boat Festival   -

Where - Toronto, Canada
When - June 25-26

Distinct from other Asian-centric festivals, the Toronto International Dragon Boat Festival will highlight Latin American and Caribbean ethnic backgrounds in its food, crafts, workshops, and performances this year. For sights, the ferry ride to Centre Island itself offers great views of Toronto’s skyscrapers. We love a good cause, and this year’s 180+ teams are gathering pledges to fund medical research and to send children with diabetes to summer camp.

6) Colorado Dragon Boat Festival

Where -Denver, Colorado
When - July 30 & 31

The Colorado Dragon Boat Festival launches with a 75-foot dragon dance and a team parade in ethnic costume. Following the kick off, the festival features both lightning-speed races on Hong Kong boats and flag-catching races on Taiwanese boats. If the competition gets your pulse racing, work it off at a martial arts demonstration or calm down at a meditation.

7) Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival -

Where - Queens, New York
When - August 13 & 14

The Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in New York boasted over 170 teams last year. Located in Flushing, a neighborhood known for its Asian cuisine, the festival has served up traditional fare like dumplings, shaved ice, and bubble tea. If you’re lucky, you can snatch up some food freebies to enjoy while watching traditional dances and crafts demonstrations.

8) San Francisco International Dragon Boat Festival -

Where - San Francisco, California
When -  Sept. 17 & 18

The San Francisco International Dragon Boat Festival almost seems like a full-blown carnival–only free. Keep the kids and your wallet happy while making chopstick dragons, riding the choo choo train, or going rock climbing. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for Kara’s Cupcakes, a cult favorite for sweet-tooths, as you catch acts like the acrobat show, ribbon and fan dance, and wu shu performance.

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