The rat isn’t usually a creature that gets much admiration by New Yorkers, but it’ll finally get its due in Flushing Meadows this weekend when the Year of the Rat is celebrated at the 18th annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival. Dragon boats are the haute couture of rowboats; the 20-seaters are all custom-made in Hong Kong, with a colorful, hand-painted dragon’s head at the front and a tail at the rear. One seat on each boat belongs to a drummer, whose music fends off the water dragons and other hungry sea things. Besides the 150-boat race, other features include a parade, martial-arts demos, the traditional dragon dance, and an ethnic food court. Bonus: If the Coney Island Hot Dog Eating contest just wasn’t enough for you, cheer on the other Joey Chestnut types at the Dumpling Eating Contest, Sunday at 1.

Sat., Aug. 2, 9 a.m.; Sun., Aug. 3, 9 a.m., 2008