Dragon boat festival expected to draw thousands to Boston

BOSTON (AP) — The nation’s oldest Chinese dragon boat festival is once again taking over the Charles River separating Boston and Cambridge.

The 39th Annual Boston Dragon Boat Festival takes place Sunday, with 74 teams competing in long, brightly colored paddle boats.

Dragon boat festivals are typically held from late May to mid-June and commemorate the life of Qu Yuan, a Chinese political leader and poet who drowned himself in a river.

Organizers say the first such festival in North America happened in Boston in 1979. They say the event is now the largest Asian cultural festival in New England, with more than 20,000 people attending the free event annually.

Sunday’s festivities also include cultural performances, from traditional and popular Chinese music to Japanese Taiko drumming, Korean martial arts and Bollywood-style dancing.

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