Photo Finish: Waking a Dragon

A monk dabs paint on the eyes of the dragon's head at the prow of the boat, awakening the dragon spirit within it. (Photo by Aidan Gardiner/DNAinfo)

DNAinfo‘s Aiden Gardiner photographed and wrote up the opening event to the 22nd annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in Central Park yesterday, in which the spirits of the dragon boats were “awakened.”

The festival, in honor of the year of the Water Dragon, kicked off with an awakening ceremony Thursday at the Bethesda fountain and the Central Park Lake, in anticipation of the festival on Aug. 4-5 at Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens.

The competition and celebration next month will involve traditional Chinese food and entertainment along with dragon boat races hosting over 170 different crews, according to organizers.

Organizers are preparing for 50,000 people to attend the celebration of Chinese culture, and more than 2,500 people from throughout the United States to participate in the races.

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