SAULT STE. MARIE — The Soo is preparing for its fifth annual Ultimate Paddle Day, which is now called the Sault Ste. Marie Riverfest.
The festivities are scheduled for Saturday Aug. 20.
For the past six years, except for one year when the event was canceled due to COVID-19, the Ultimate Paddle Day has been an annual event. Held at Rotary Park, the day-long fundraiser event includes several family activities such as canoe races and paddleboarding.
"The rebranding kind of opens it up more for people, there are some people who don't paddle or do paddle sports," said Steven Habusta, the executive director in training at the Chippewa County Community Foundation. "But there are some great opportunities for them to still come down and have a great time."
The event, which starts at 9 a.m., includes two canoe races, frog fishing, yoga sessions, a battleship challenge with canoes and water guns, and a lazy float on a tube down the St. Marys River.
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Riverfest is hosted and organized by the Chippewa County Community Foundation in partnership with Bird's Eye Outfitters. It started as a way to show off the Sault area as a place with lots of opportunities for outdoor and water-based activities.
Ultimate Paddle Day in its first year replaced the annual Weekend Wine Down, a wine- and beer-tasting event, and Dueling Pianos. Both were fundraisers for several years that helped raise funds for various community events and projects.
There will be no cost to attendees for most of the events, including the guided canoe and kayak rides.
There will be a cost to participate in the canoe races, which are separated into professional and amateur classes. The winner of the canoe races will receive a cash reward. The winner of the professional canoe race will win $1,000. The money that goes to the winner of the amateur race will be determined by how many people participate.
The event often draws crowds from all over the state, including professional paddleboard racers.
"We've got professionals that come up from all around the state and take part in it," said Habusta.
Registration is required before participation in the races.
The event will also be host to several food trucks, food vendors and a tent where attendees can buy mimosas, White Claws and beer.
Contact Brendan Wiesner: BWiesner@Sooeveningnews.com
This article originally appeared on The Sault News: Ultimate Paddle Day returns as Sault Ste. Marie Riverfest