More than 40 boats race in this year’s Dragon Boat Festival

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The James River was alive and once again filled with dragons this morning for the 7th annual Richmond Dragon Boat Festival.

It’s becoming one of Richmond’s most popular annual events.

“What it is, it’s 40-foot boats decorated with a dragon’s head and tail,” said Pete Woody, an organizer with Sportsbackers. “It’s an ancient Chinese sport. Twenty paddlers in each boat, plus a steersperson and a drummer.”

This year is a record-setting year for the event. More than 40 teams participated.

“It’s a lot of local corporate teams and dragon boat clubs from up and down the east coast, Baltimore, Raleigh, Charlotte,” Woody said.

One team came all the way from Chicago.

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“Once we got in the boat we all fell in love with it, and now were here,” Kimberly Quizon, a participant, said.

The Richmond International Dragon Boat Festival benefits Sportable, a non-profit organization helping people with physical and visual disabilities through sports.

This team hopes to encourage more and more people to get involved with a sport they love.”

“All paddlers out there whether you’re young or old or you’re afraid of the water, it’s a safe sport it’s a fun sport. On our next event, check it out even if you just want to come as a single paddler. There are lots of teams that are willing to help you,” one participant said.

Aside from the races, there was also a large festival with local food trucks there at Rocketts Landing.

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