For the second year running, Lake Merritt's northern shore will be jammed with cultural performances and vendors to celebrate the annual NorCal International Dragon Boat Festival. A small sampling of the offerings: dragon air-brush tattoos, booming taiko drummers, yo-yo stunt artists, a zither ensemble, acrobats, magic shows, folk dances, gospel choirs, your usual outdoor food fare, and dodgeball and face-paint for the kiddies. But that's all garnish for the main event — a series of exciting races between 40-foot-long, intricately painted dragon boats. Opening ceremonies begin at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, with a traditional blessing of the boats by Buddhist monks from the Fa Yun Chan temple.
Saturday, Sept. 23, and Sunday, Sept. 24, 10 a.m., free. Lake Merritt Boating Center, 568 Bellevue Ave., Oakland. SFDragonBoat.com