Ultimate Paddle Day returns as Sault Ste. Mary Riverfest

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SAULT STE. MARY — The Soo is gearing up for their fifth annual Ultimate Paddle Day, which is now called the Sault Ste. Mary Riverfest.

The festivities are scheduled for Saturday, August 20.

For six years, with the exception of one year when the event was canceled due to COVID-19, Ultimate Paddle Day has been an annual event. Held at Rotary Park, the one-day fundraising event includes several family-friendly activities such as canoe races and paddleboarding.

“Rebranding opens it up more to people, there are people who don’t paddle or do paddle sports,” said Steven Habusta, executive director-in-training at the Chippewa County Community Foundation. “But there are great opportunities for them to come and have a good 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 on the river St. Marys.

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Riverfest is hosted and organized by the Chippewa County Community Foundation in partnership with Bird’s Eye Outfitters. Initially, it was to show the Sault area as a place with many opportunities for outdoor and water activities.

Ultimate Paddle Day in its first year replaced the annual Weekend Wine Down, a wine and beer tasting event, and Dueling Pianos. Both have been fundraisers for several years helping to raise funds for various community events and projects.

There will be no cost to participants for most events, including 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 prize. The winner of the professional canoe race will take home $1,000. The money that goes to the winner of the amateur race will be determined by the number of people who participate.

The event often draws crowds from across the state, including professional paddleboard racers.

“We have professionals who come from all over the state and participate in it,” Habusta said.

Registration is mandatory before participating in the races.

The event will also host several food trucks, food vendors and a tent where attendees can purchase mimosas, White Claws and beer.

Contact Brendan Wiesner: [email protected]

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