McMinnville’s Paddlefest to raise money for Kids of The Community returns to Pepper Branch Park Saturday.
Kids of The Community Director Barry Dishman said for more than six years they have gathered to both float and race down the river. Dishman said this is one of the biggest fundraisers of the year but it came about due to a lack of funding.
“We partnered with Jackson Kayak early on, got some kayaks several years ago,” Dishman said. “Honestly, we got the kayaks because we couldn’t afford to take the children to the city pool. It costs about $5 to get into the city pool here. So we were able to buy from Jackson once we got a partnership, we got a donor who gave us enough money and we started paddling the kayaks.”
Dishman said then the idea came to invite the community down to join. He said there’s a big difference now in the folks who come down to race and are not looking to just float.
“We just want people to go out, bring all their friends and enjoy the river,” Dishman said. “Now the racers are really serious. They hit the water at a dead run, they’re usually finished in about 40 minutes. The float normally, a normal float would be anywhere from 4 and a half to 6 hours.”
Dishman said they’re racing for a good reason, and not just to support the at-risk youth that Kids of The Community supports. He said there’s a chance to win one of the most in demand recreation items there is.
“We’re gonna draw for prizes down at a local restaurant, Wild Bill’s BBQ,” Dishman said. “We draw for all the prizes there. If you signup or participate in the float or the race you have an opportunity to win a new Jackson tandem kayak.”
Dishman said the best plan is to come to Pepper Branch Park at 9:00 AM to get registered to float of race.
Kayaks are not provided but can be rented from local kayak rental establishments. All event proceeds go to support Kids of The Community and its efforts to instill a sense of purpose for at-risk youth.