Paddle Antrim is quickly gaining recognition for bringing awareness to the amazing treasures of Antrim County’s Chain of Lakes and the wonderful communities along the water trail. This non-profit organization is hosting the first Paddle Antrim Festival September 18 & 19, 2015. The event is highlighted by a two-day kayak paddle through Antrim County’s Chain of Lakes and five communities.
The two day paddle includes most of the Upper Chain of Lakes, beginning in Ellsworth. The first day meanders 15 peaceful miles through many small lakes from Ellsworth to Bellaire, a must-see with waters calm enough for beginning kayakers to enjoy. The second day is a 27 mile paddle from Bellaire through the Lower Chain of Lakes including the picturesque Torch Lake to Elk Rapids. As a non-competitive event, paddlers are encouraged to choose their own adventure, and may select to paddle only one day or drop out at any of the checkpoints along the route either day. Registration, which ends August 30th, for the two days is $120 and one day registration is $75.
“The communities along the Chain of Lakes are very excited and honored to be able to showcase their many amenities and attractions for participants and their guests of the Paddle Antrim event,” says Mary Faculak, East Jordan Area Chamber of Commerce President. Each community along the route will roll out the red carpet for the event’s paddlers. Friday paddlers will have breakfast in Ellsworth, followed by lunch in Central Lake’s Thurston Park. Later in the day, paddlers will be welcomed to Bellaire with a relaxed block party featuring music and refreshments. Saturday night will conclude with a final bash for the arriving paddlers in downtown Elk Rapids. That evening Paddle Antrim’s two top sponsors, Short’s Brewing Company and Imperial Beverage, will serve beer, while paddlers and friends can enjoy great local food and live music by The Sleeping Gypsies.
The Paddle Antrim Festival fundraiser will not only celebrate the waterways but also raise money for these communities. Paddle Antrim is dedicated to giving back by providing funding for projects focused on water resources education, stewardship, and increasing access to the water for everyone.
“We are so excited about the level of enthusiasm we have received from the local communities, sponsors, and paddlers for our mission and this unique paddling event,” said Deana Jerdee, Paddle Antrim executive director. “We appreciate all of our sponsors and want to especially thank Short’s Brewing Company for all their support as we carry on a tradition they began with their Short’s to Short’s Paddle. We look forward to celebrating the pristine waters and enjoying a wonderful paddle and local hospitality.”
For five years, Short’s Brewing Company hosted a paddle from their pub in Bellaire to their production plant in Elk Rapids, which was called the Short’s to Short’s Paddle. That event had a goal of raising awareness about the precious water resources located in Antrim County, where all Short’s beer is produced. “We’re excited that Paddle Antrim has taken our idea to the next level. The Paddle Antrim Festival is going to be a fun and adventurous way to celebrate the unique beauty of our region while also giving back to all of our communities. We look forward to participating and are proud to be the event’s major sponsor,” stated Short’s COO Matt Drake.