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Chongming a site for Dragon Boat fun
By Jiang Xinhua

THE Dragon Boat Festival, which falls on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese lunar calendar, on June 2 this year, is one of the four most important traditional holidays in China. This festival is celebrated with various folk activities to wish for good health and long life.

The four-day “Chongming Dragon Boat Festival” features five themes including local culture, food, sports, family fun and love. It starts tomorrow and will run through June 2.

Riding on your bicycle, you are ready for the colorful events held at different venues. At Qianwei Village, the contest for making zongzi (dumplings of a special  rice wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves) attracts many locals and visitors.

As the traditional festival food, zongzi is a pyramid-shaped dumpling made of glutinous rice, stuffed with fatty pork, sweet red beans and other ingredients. It is wrapped in reed leaves and tied with string. Chongming zongzi is famous for its sharp angles, like a perfect pyramid. While many people in Shanghai buy their zongzi, in Chongming there is a strong tradition of making them at home as a family event. You can learn how to make Chongming zongzi with the help of locals.

For food gourmets, the beer festival at Yiqin Garden, near Dongping National Forest Park, offers a live band show and barbecue party. There are all kinds of beverages and BBQ food from meat and lamb to fish, and lots of local vegetables like sweet corn, potatoes and yams. Besides barbecue, you can also try hotpot and crayfish on the island.

Sports fans will be excited to see the dragon boat racing at Mingzhu Lake. It is also relaxing to cycle along Mingzhu Lake, watching swans and other kinds of birds. At Mingzhu Lake Park, there are more than 50 kinds of trees including magnolia gradiflora, dawn redwood and gingko, as well as many grasses and flowers.

The Lavender and Egret Garden is a romantic place for couples. Covering an area of 200 hectares, the garden is filled with lavender and more than 10 kinds of herb, such as sweet basil and rosemary. You can DIY lavender soup and essence oil. Feeding the llama is a favorite of kids.

• Zongzi Making Contest

Date: May 30, 1-4pm

Venue: Qianwei Village

• Beer Festival

Date: Through June 2, 6-9:30pm

Tel: 5933-8811

Venue: Yiqin Garden

Address: 2089 Beiyan Rd N.

• Bike rental

Yimi Bicycle Rental stations at South Gate Pier, Yingzhou Park, Xisha Wetland, Mingzhu Lake, Dongping National Forest Park, Qianwei Village

Website: www.cmyimi.net

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