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2017 Dragon Boats Races and Taiwan Day Festival, Pawtucket, RI

The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Boston and the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council co-hosted the 2017 Dragon Boat Races and Taiwan Day Festival on September 9 along the Pawtucket River in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. More than 10,000 people turned out for the event, including many distinguished guests from state and local governments and members of the overseas Chinese community. Attendees enjoyed dragon boat races, kite flying, Dumpling and Watermelon Eating Contests, traditional Chinese arts and crafts, great food, and exciting performances. This year, the kite flying included ROC (Taiwan) and US national flag kites that soared high above the crowd symbolizing friendship between Taiwan and the U.S.

The opening ceremony of the Taiwan Day Festival included remarks by Director-General Scott Lai of TECO-Boston, U.S. Congressman David Cicilline, Rhode Island Lieutenant Governor Daniel Mckee, Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, RI Treasurer Seth Magaziner, Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien, and Artistic Director John Baxton of Pawtucket Arts Festival.

Director-General Lai addressed the crowd noting that the Rhode Island Dragon Boat Races and Taiwan Day Festival is now in its 18th year. He thanked government officials and the community alike for their support over the years that have made the event such a success. This was the second consecutive year, in fact, that the Rhode Island State Government had a team, led by Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, to compete in the race for the top prize of $5,000. China Airlines generously sponsored one round-trip airline ticket (NYC/LA/SF-TPE) for the winner of the Breast Cancer Awareness Race. Eva Air, for the fourth year in a row, donated one round-trip airline ticket (NYC-TPE) to the winner of the Dumpling Eating Contest to promote tourism in Taiwan. All in all, there were 23 teams that competed in the dragon boat races and much fun was had by all.