From September 14th to 16th, the 8th annual Paddle Antrim Festival brought together over 250 paddlers and volunteers in a spirited celebration. This dynamic event was marked by the participation of more than 160 paddlers who navigated the scenic expanse of the Chain of Lakes Water Trail over two invigorating days, with some accomplishing distances of up to 42 miles.

The Paddle Antrim Festival, spanning three days, includes two days dedicated to paddling adventures. Launching from Ellsworth, paddlers followed the route, covering distances ranging from 7 to 42 miles across the span of the event. Community events are interwoven throughout the festival, culminating in the vibrant Final Bash, graciously hosted by the top sponsor, Short’s Brewing Company, at their Pull Barn in Elk Rapids.

Deana Jerdee, Executive Director of Paddle Antrim, remarked, “This year, we proudly welcomed 165 paddlers to the Paddle Antrim Festival, hailing from Maryland to Alaska. We were thrilled to showcase a diverse range of paddle crafts including kayaks, tandem kayaks, canoes and paddle boards.” Day 1 witnessed a captivating spectacle as 141 boats set sail from Ellsworth River Park. On the second day,105 boats were launched from Bellaire, with an impressive 57 paddlers conquering the entirety of the 42-mile route.

Critical to the success of the event were the efforts of over 30 sponsors and 90 volunteers, working together to ensure the seamless operation of the festival and the safety of paddlers navigating the waters. “We extend our heartfelt gratitude to our sponsors and volunteers for their pivotal role in the success of this event,” expressed Jerdee.

Mark your calendars for the upcoming 2024 Paddle Antrim Festival, scheduled for September 12th to 14th.