Navigating across a body of water to the beat of a drum can't help but bring to mind images of some ancient slave galley, where wretched souls have been forced to paddle and row for their very lives. While it took Charlton Heston saving the life of the captain to escape such shackled drudgery in “Ben Hur,” there are actually volunteers for this kind of aquatic-based labor, competing in events known as dragon-boat racing. On Saturday, July 31, Richmond plays host to such a contest for its first Dragon Boat Festival. Featuring 40-foot crafts decorated with ornate Chinese dragon heads propelled by 20 synchronized paddlers, the day of river racing takes place at Rocketts Landing with contests from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. For registration and spectator information visit gwndragonboat.com or call
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