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YEAR OF THE DRAGON

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The Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival is based on the legend of an ancient Chinese patriot-poet who was banished from his state for advocating reforms. Wandering in exile, he drowned himself when he heard his homeland had been invaded. Local fishermen couldn’t save him, but to prevent his body from being eaten by fish, they threw rice dumplings into the water as an offering to his heroic spirit. Their race to save him is the inspiration for this yearly festival. Last year’s event featured more than 120 dragon boats, many now made of fiberglass for speed, from all over North America. Races occur over the course of days, with non-stop performances on shore that include tap dancing, comic routines, and Rectifist, a Chinese heavy metal band. Don’t miss this morning’s show by the Chinese Ensemble of New York, the only fully Chinese orchestra in the United States.

Aug. 9-10, 10:30 a.m., 2014

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