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Two Harbors Kayak Festival celebrates 20 years

Jul 22, 2017 09:25AM ● By Editor

By Emily Sweatt on Jul 21, 2017 at 4:00 a.m. - The Lake County News Chronicle

The Two Harbors Kayak Festival is an annual celebration that never fails to draw in a large crowd of people from all over the country, and even from Canada, though this is no surprise for anyone who has attended and enjoyed the event before.

The festival is held at beautiful Burlington Bay and spans the weekend of July 29-30. With two different races for kayaks and stand-up paddleboards, local exhibitors for everyone to enjoy, as well as live music and food, there is no shortage of entertainment.

"We have a silent auction filled with great paddling gear and a dinner from Vanilla Bean and beer from Castle Danger Brewery," said director of the festival and race chairman Scott Neustel.

"People should come to the 20th Annual Two Harbors Kayak Festival because it is the most fun you can have in a kayak all year."

There will be kayak and paddleboard demonstrations and classes along with beginner family tours and kids' kayaking for ages 4 to 15, with staff available to give pointers.

On Saturday from 1-2:30 p.m., there will be a lesson course for beginners to provide them with a working knowledge of the sport and the skill to safely participate. They will be taught the fundamentals of kayaking, including paddling techniques, how to brace oneself for stability, and what to do in the event that the vessel capsizes, all on a 3-mile tour. The instructor will also teach participants how to perform an assisted rescue through demonstration. At the same time on Saturday, there will be a course for beginning paddle-boarders. Many of the same lessons will be taught, especially concerning safety when participating in the activity. However, people will also be taught how to turn on their boards, the different stance options, and how to get on and off the board in deep water.

In addition to these, there will be a clinic focusing specifically on safety, where equipment and rescue techniques will be discussed and demonstrated. Participants should prepare to be immersed in the water, and must either rent or bring their own boat. On both days, there will be family lessons for people with children of at least 4 years old. Anyone under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Also fun for the family are youth races, or kayak sprints, one for children ages 8 to 11, and one for children ages 12 to 15. The adult races are for anyone age 16 and above.

"They can choose between the fun Betty's Pies 5-mile race or challenge themselves in the Ellen Anderson 10-mile race. There will be dozens of kayaks to demo, tours, kids kayaking and clinics all day," Neustel said.

There will be candy bars, electrolyte drinks and oranges available at the start of these races though racers are encouraged to bring their own food as well as or in lieu of these items.

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