Paddle Antrim Festival


Central Lake – A Paddle Antrim Festival Community

WELCOME! The Village of Central Lake is located in Antrim County, in the heart of Northwest Michigan’s “Chain Of  Lakes.” We have the beautiful waterways, friendly businesses, and a country life style offering a wide range of recreational activities. As a year-round vacation location, we welcome golfers, skiers, campers, hunters, snowmobilers, fishermen, and anyone looking for a peaceful get-a-way.

Summer events in Central Lake include art festivals, craft fairs, and the largest Fourth of July Parade for miles around. In addition to the parade, the Chamber sponsors music, a chicken barbecue, bazaar, and a strawberry shortcake extravaganza. Fireworks top off these activities making for a fun-filled family day.

Yes, Central Lake is a great place to vacation, to live, or to grow a business! We hope you will come see for yourself! It’s not always the destination, but the journey that matters. When you travel through our community, you will discover the beauty we have to offer. We have a framework blending our unique “Turn of the Century” charm for tourism and a place to call home.

Start your journey here…..in the beautiful Chain of Lakes..
Beware it’s a journey that could last a lifetime marked by people, places, and memories you choose to create here.

The Central Lake Area Chamber of Commerce office, a log cabin at the north end of the business district, is open from Memorial Day until Labor Day.

The Paddle Experience

Paddle Antrim Map 2015The first day begins on the sandy beaches at the Village of Ellsworth’s beautiful Ellsworth River Park.  In the first couple hours, paddlers cut through the calm waters of four small lakes before passing under the bridge into Intermediate Lake in the Village of Central Lake.  Thurston Park is a perfect spot to pull out and stretch with park amenities and restaurants and shops a quick walk up.  The paddle continues through the long, yet narrow, Intermediate Lake before passing under the picturesque pedestrian bridge as you enter Richardi Park in the Village of Bellaire.  The closeness of the shores throughout the paddle create a wonderful opportunity to really see the landscape and wildlife as you pass by.  In September, the trees are changing and the views are breathtaking.  Because this paddle is slightly shorter, 16 miles, and offers smaller lakes, it is also a great experience for paddlers looking for a calmer waters.

The second day begins at the Ohio Street boat launch in Bellaire on the Intermediate River before entering Lake Bellaire.  Paddlers continue through the scenic and incredibly important Grass River Natural Area  and Clam Lake before coming to the first checkpoint (9 miles) at the entrance to Torch Lake.  The crystal blue waters of Michigan’s second largest inland lake are amazing and paddlers may choose to stop halfway through in Alden at the second checkpoint (13 miles) where there are restaurants and supplies.  The final four miles of Torch Lake brings paddlers to the third checkpoint (17 miles) at the beginning of the Torch River.  Torch River flows into Lake Skegemog where paddlers enjoy the northern portion of the lake.  Paddlers will pass their fourth checkpoint (21 miles) before the final stretch through Elk Lake, ending at the Elk Rapids Chamber of Commerce kayak boat launch (26 miles).  This paddle is more technical and offers the open waters of the larger lakes, and yet is just as amazing as the upper portion of the Chain of Lakes.

Ellsworth – A Paddle Antrim Festival Community

Activity and enthusiasm share the stage in the Village of Ellsworth. Located at the north end of the Chain-of-Lakes, this community boasts strong agricultural and lumbering roots. It remains a solid agricultural region with many dairy and beef farms, orchards, vineyards and farm markets. Ellsworth is very involved in local and Chamber of Commerce events, programs and activities. One of the area’s signature events, the Pig Roast, is celebrated and produced each year the third weekend in June by an all-volunteer committee.  The Village of Ellsworth continues to be an active member of the Breezeway Task Force. The community leaders are constantly exploring ways to enhance and promote its many natural recreational and business amenities as well as improving the resident’s and visitor’s quality of life.

With its’ excellent location on the Chain-of-Lakes, Ellsworth offers a multitude of recreational opportunities for all ages including; kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding, fishing, boating, hiking, hunting, birding, photography or painting. The Wooden Shoe Campground, which is owned and operated by the village, is a great destination for campers. It features an up north setting and includes many family-oriented amenities. A stop at the Ellsworth Labyrinth (one of the largest in the Northern Midwest) located on the shores of Ellsworth Lake allows a chance to relax, meditate and contemplate. The Ellsworth Community Park offers an elevated archery range, covered pavilion, multi-purpose building, restrooms, playground area, day boat dock, walking paths, observation deck, sledding hill and a paved parking area.

A perfect adventure and a chance to escape to your inner spirit awaits you in Ellsworth. Celebrate and explore the natural beauty and tranquility that is offered here year round. Nature and art in perfect harmony, along with restoration and advancement, abound and grow throughout the entire region!

For more information on local events, business offerings and opportunities, check out the East Jordan Area Chamber of Commerce or the Village of Ellsworth.

– East Jordan Area Chamber of Commerce

Bellaire – A Paddle Antrim Festival Community

As you will see, the lovely Village of Bellaire has much to offer its visitors as well as its residents. It’s a wonderful place to visit, live, raise a family or retire.  The community is looking forward to being a part of the Paddle Antrim Festival.

Water is the backdrop of life in Bellaire, the county seat. Swimming, boating, fishing and beach-combing are summer activities that give way in the fall to driving tours along some of Michigan’s most scenic back roads. In the winter, snowmobile trails, sledding spots and Shanty Creek’s ski slopes provide plenty of fun. Golf swings into action in the spring as the area heats up again. Bellaire is an outdoor enthusiast paradise with endless hiking & biking trails, mushroom hunting, and more.

The Village’s 1,200 residents know how to throw a party. Each August the town has a fabulous Annual Rubber Ducky Festival downtown with food, arts, crafts, a parade and a Rubber Ducky Race. Other annual activities include Paddle Antrim, September’s Harvest Festival & Scarecrow Extravaganza, a Holiday Gift Fair, Light Up The Night, Parade, Soup Cook-Off and much more.

Get to know Bellaire by visiting our unique gift, clothing and art shops as well as great places to eat and drink, plus a traditional movie theater make Bellaire a day-into-evening destination. Bellaire has numerous accommodations including Award winning Bed & Breakfasts, Motels, Inns, Resorts, cabins as well as parks and campgrounds.

We look forward to your visit to Bellaire!  The Bellaire Chamber of Commerce

Paddle Antrim Festival Dates Announced

For Immediate Release

Paddle Antrim Festival Dates Announced

Bellaire, MI – Paddle Antrim will present the first Paddle Antrim Festival on September 18 & 19, 2015.  The Paddle Antrim Festival includes a two-day kayak paddle through Northern Michigan’s Chain of Lakes.  The first day begins in Ellsworth continuing through Central Lake to Bellaire, meandering through numerous small lakes.   The second day will continue from Bellaire, ending in Elk Rapids, passing through Torch Lake, Michigan’s longest inland lake.  This 40+ mile paddle event highlights the wonderful natural resources-based activities available in Northern Michigan.

Along the route, local communities including Ellsworth, Central Lake, Bellaire, and Elk Rapids will host other events, illustrating what wonderful opportunities the communities have to offer.  “The communities along the Chain of Lakes Water Trail 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.  “It is the wish of the many individuals, businesses, clubs and organizations involved with this new event and organization that many new paddlers will be introduced to our area and that they will continue to utilize this spectacular water trail for years to come. The event and organization is a tremendous economic boost for the entire Chain of Lakes and surrounding communities. I see it only growing and quickly becoming one of Antrim County’s signature events.”

Short’s Brewing Company has agreed to be a major sponsor of the Paddle Antrim Festival. The Festival will conclude with a celebration at Short’s Brewing Company’s Production Facility in Elk Rapids.  For five years (2009-2013), Short’s hosted a similar paddle from Bellaire to Elk Rapids known as the Short’s to Short’s Paddle.  Short’s COO Matt Drake stated, “Short’s is proud to support the Paddle Antrim Festival. Though it became impractical for us to continue to hold a major paddling event, we were thrilled that our community rallied behind the concept and that it will live on by supporting Paddle Antrim’s effort to bring awareness to the waterways in Northern Michigan.”

More information on Paddle Antrim and the Festival is available at www.paddleantrim.com.

About Paddle Antrim

Paddle Antrim is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization created to support efforts to maintain water quality in the rivers, lakes, and streams in Antrim County Michigan. We support investments in water trail infrastructures that facilitate public access to the waterways in Antrim County. We educate the public and promote public awareness of the waterways in Antrim County and the need to preserve and protect these natural resources.