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Dragon-Boat Weekend Guide

Dragons, suicide, zongzi, rotting flesh, beer festivals, parties, races. Duan-Wu Tang Clan. We're having big fun, and the party's just begun.
2014-05-30 17:15:54
Monday, June 1 is Duanwu Jie, a.k.a. Dragon-Boat Festival. For you, that means three days off work, unless you work in a language sweatshop or you are, in fact, a dragon. Here's everything you need to know about the three-day holiday weekend in Shanghai, illustrated by some time-traveling kid wizards we've never met.


Dragon-Boat Weekend Activities

Sinan Mansions Beer Festival

Dragons love the pijiu. Sinan Mansions has a two day beer festival happening from noon–10pm on Saturday and Sunday with live music by bands like Friend or Foe and Banana Monkey and over sixty breweries slanging their crafts. Over a hundred beers from 60 breweries, sounds good. More info here.

Sundae Sunday Summer 2014 Market

Fashion and lifestyle brands selling their wares in the underrated INSHOP underground mall on Nanjing Xi Lu. They've got a range of F&B options plus threads and accessories from independent designers. Goes from 12–6pm on Sunday. Full info here.

Festival Flea Market

Local designers pushing products both new and old in Yangpu District by Fudan University. They've even got a play castle for kids and a light show at night. You can also get a booth for 500rmb by calling 137 6199 3866. Goes from 10am-8pm on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday at Daxue Lu, near Weide Lu/Kam Chong Lu. More info on Douban.

Elvis Gospel Brunch

The King doing one last Shanghai show on Sunday morning. No band for this one, just the man singing the gospel with backing tracks down at The Melting Pot. This daytime affair starts at 11am. More info right here.

Shanghai Chess Club Chess Tournament

Bobby Fisher! There's an afternoon chess tournament happening at Oscar's Pub on Sunday. If the weather's nice they'll do it outside. Prizes include…a bottle of vodka and some gift certificates for the pub. More info right here.

Kids Art Is The Best Art

All weekend, Gallery G1 is showcasing artwork by Shanghainese children aged 3–15. Will it be as good as the art in this article? Who knows, but kids who attend the exhibit can draw, paint, sculpt clay, and dance. Goes from 2–5pm Sat, Sun, and Mon. More info here.

Self, A Virtual Play

Fans of Black Mirror and other dark-side-of-technology fiction, you've still got one week left to check out "Self," the virtual-hybrid theater experience we reviewed last week. Heard great things about this play, which has both real and virtual characters dealing with issues of technology and privacy. Show runs Thur-Sun at 8pm. More details here.

Cancer Babies Art Exhibition

If you haven't yet, get down to the Ren Space gallery over by Yu Garden for a seriously next-level exhibition that includes 3D-printing, screen-printing, sculpture, animation, and music. Check out our full review right here. Highly recommended. Gallery is open from 10am–6pm Tue–Sun, but closes on Mondays.

Official Dragon Boat Races

Disclaimer: Information about Dragon-Boat races is almost as elusive as real dragons. The only race we can probably guarantee in 2014 is Saturday on Suzhou Creek, because the news comes from the official Shanghai government website. Take a look right here.

Shanghai Suzhou River City Dragon Boat Invitational

Nine teams of families, neighbors, and colleagues racing down the Suzhou River. If they lose, they die. Kidding! The actual race starts at 2pm, but in the morning they have a garden party with wind sticks, kites, tai chi, culture booths, hand-painted eggs, and other culture bits. They say the race starts at 2pm, but you may as well show up early because…who knows. You can take a cab to Brilliant City, which is right by the M-50 graffiti wall. The closest metro station is Line 4, Zhongtan Lu.

Sunday Parties With Dragon Inclinations

Holiday weekends always involve some promoters cashing in on the fact that no one has to work on Monday. Here's our picks for what's happening.

Psy-Trance Party @ The Shelter

Psychedelic Trance kind of sounds like the soundtrack to that PS1 racing game Wipeout. Get down until your heart explodes into a million little LED pieces for The Shelter Ayi to sweep up. Lots of visuals. They've got special guest Braincell aka Solar Spectrum from Switzerland - check out some of his tunes right here. More event info here.

Circuit Party @ ICON

The biggest gay club in Shanghai always goes hard on holiday weekends, and Dragon Boat festival is no exception. Three parties, two themes (Outer Space and Cartoon World), six DJs, five drag queens, and ten go go dancers. BUT WHERE ARE THE DRAGONS??? More info about that here.

Love Bang Official Dragon-Boat After Party @ Dada Bar

Another one from the Love Bang crew. DJ Caution and Heatwolves playing hip hop, dragon house, dragon-step, juke, and more down at the recently-expanded Dada Bar. Inflatables and cartoons on deck. Free entry and goes all night.

Dragon-Boat History Two-For-One Special

Boats, rice triangles, suicide, and dragons. Here's the abridged version of one of China's most emo stories. There's two unrelated parts…

Story 1: Sometime in China's 5,000 year history, there was this poet who worked for the government. He loved the country, but the king was not down with this guy. This really saddened the poet, so he killed himself. Not content with death alone, the king threw the poet's body in the river.

The public knew the vicious fish would eat the poet's body if they didn't do something. So they made thousands of glutinous rice triangles stuffed with fatty pork and threw them in the river for the fish to dine on. What happened when the zongzi were gone and the fish got hungry again? Dunno, that's not in this harmonious story.

Story 2: But what does this have to do with dragons and boats, you ask? Well, nothing really. Two stories in one holiday? I'd buy that for a dollar!

In another town, another really chill dude saved a little dragon from drowning in a small river. Turns out that little dragon was a god... Wait, how can god drown? SHUT UP AND BE HARMONIOUS.

The little dragon god wanted to say "hey, thanks village dude," so he turned the small river into a huge river, and the village had sparkling water and giant vegetables forever. Jah bless. So every year people race dragon boat to say "hey, thanks little dragon god for giving us this chill river."

Zongzi - Glutinous Rice To Save Rotting Flesh

This weekend you can find one of the most underrated Chinese foods all over the streets. I'm talkin' bout zongzi, the aforementioned triangles people threw in the river to feed the fish. Basically, it's a glutinous rice triangle stuffed with hongshao rou – fat and pork that melts like ice cream. This all comes wrapped in a bamboo leaf, but don't eat that. Find some on the streets or learn how to make your own zongzi.

Cook In Shanghai Trip To Chongming

On Monday, June 1 Cook in Shanghai has a zongzi-making class out on Chongming Island. Trip is 349rmb per person including transportation, 150rmb for kids over eight, and free for kids under eight. Nice excuse to get out of this crazy city.

Zongzi Workshop In Hongkou

If you don't feel like leaving town, you can hit up one of Shanghai's best districts, Hongkou, for a zongzi workshop 7–8.30pm on Saturday, May 31. That's 100rmb per person, including three meat zongzis, three red bean ones, and a drink. Happens at Building 5, 1208 Liyang Lu near Changchun Lu. More info on Douban right here.


That's all. Don't be that guy who swims in the Huangpu river on Dragon Boat Weekend. They probably won't throw any Zongzi in the water to save your rotting flesh. Jah bless.