TAIWAN – The Rhode Island Delegation, led by Lt. Governor Dan McKee, attended a donation ceremony for the gift of Dragon Boats to the City of Pawtucket. The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office donated the boats as a continuation of their ongoing partnership in support of Pawtucket’s Taiwan Day Festival, which brings thousands of people to Pawtucket and the Blackstone Valley every year.

The ceremony was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) for the Republic of China (Taiwan) on April 17th and hosted by Deputy Minister Hsu Szu-chien. The ceremony underscored the commitment to deepening people-to-people and cultural exchanges between the two sides. Director-General Douglas Y.T. Hsu of the Taipei Economic & Cultural Office in Boston officially announced the $120,000 gift in the weeks leading up to the Delegation’s trade mission.

Coordinated by the MOFA, the donation was offered to support the expansion of the annual Rhode Island Dragon Boat Races and Taiwan Day Festival, now in its 20th year. The Dragon Boats will be delivered in time for the 20th Annual Rhode Island Dragon Boat Races & Taiwan Day Festival. They will be added to a fleet that includes 6 more dragon boats that were donated in 2004.

The RI Delegation had the opportunity to see the dragon boats, which are currently being built. The new boats will fit 18 paddlers. The boats, that weigh close to a ton each and are about 40 feet long, will come with life jackets, paddles, and steering oars.

Offered ahead of the 20th edition of the festival later this year, the donation also comes as Taiwan and the U.S. mark the 40th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act. The RI Delegation attended the Anniversary Celebration as they are visiting Taiwan to strengthen the current business relationships in the Blackstone Valley and between Taiwan and the State of RI.

The Dragon Boat Races and Taiwan Day Festival will begin Friday night, September 6th and continue on Saturday, September 7th.