Savannah Riverkeeper's Paddlefest set for Saturday

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The Savannah River is usually peppered with boats on summer weekends. But this Saturday, ships of all colors, sizes and strengths will float during the fifth annual Paddlefest.

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Paddlefest participants splash each other with their paddles as they float down the Savannah River during the 2010 event.  MICHAEL HOLAHAN/FILE
MICHAEL HOLAHAN/FILE
Paddlefest participants splash each other with their paddles as they float down the Savannah River during the 2010 event.

Paddlefest is sponsored by Savannah Riverkeeper, an environmental advocacy group working to restore water quality on the Savannah, protect the lakes and tributaries in the Savannah River Basin and educate area residents about ecological and environmental problems.

There will be categories for kayaks, canoes, stand-up paddle boards and homemade rafts. Kayaks and canoes will begin at Savannah Rapids Pavilion, stand-up paddle boards will begin at the Fifth Street Marina, and homemade rafts will begin at the North Augusta Boat Landing in Hammond’s Ferry.

Jennifer Gut, the program manager for Savannah Riverkeeper, said the homemade raft category is always the most entertaining.

“People work for months on those,” she said.

The rules for homemade rafts are not extensive, she said: safety first, but after that it’s up to the contestants.

“It doesn’t need to fall apart, and it needs to have good construction,” she said. “Most of all, though, be creative and have fun.”

The races will be followed by a festival on the Riverfront Marina, with food vendors, water slides, boat rides, a farmer’s market and more. Prizes for the fastest raft, most original, most enthusiastic, best craftsmanship, best design/engineering and best sense of humor will be given.

Paddlefest is Savannah River­keep­er’s largest fundraiser. Gut said group members believe getting people out on the river accomplishes their purpose of educating and exciting residents about the Savannah River.

“You can have a lot of fun out there and still treat the river nicely,” she said.

PADDLEFEST

WHEN: Saturday, with start times throughout the morning

WHERE:

• Canoe and kayak races start at 9:30 a.m. at Savannah Rapids Pavilion, 3300 Evans to Locks Road, Martinez.

• Homemade rafts are launched at 10 a.m. at the North Augusta Boat Landing at the end of Hammonds Ferry Road.

• Stand-up paddle boards launch at 9:45 a.m. at the Savannah Riverkeeper office, 105 Riverfront Drive.

COST: $45 to register

INFO: paddlefestga.com

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Dixieman
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Dixieman 08/19/11 - 06:12 am
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Nice event to watch, but this

Nice event to watch, but this is a radical, extremist left-wing enviro group in disguise (green on the outside, red on the inside). Think twice, then think again before giving them any money. RFK Jr. is a big supporter. They are anti-jobs, anti-economic development and anti-industry. Beware!!

columbiacountynative
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columbiacountynative 08/19/11 - 09:05 am
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DIxieman, I beg to differ

DIxieman, I beg to differ with you, why would you bring politics into this? This is to be fun for the people making rafts for the race or just ones wanting to float their canoes or kayaks down river. I looked at the supporters and nothing was mentioned about left or right wing supporters. What is so wrong with keeping the river clean? I believe that you may be wrong on this one.

wmhv
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wmhv 08/19/11 - 09:36 am
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Dixieman....I'm gonna go out

Dixieman....I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say your an older man that doesn't care about future generations having drinking water....You sound like the classic "If it aint broke don't fix it" kind of guy. Well as a younger Augusta Native, and a father I say it is broke and your attitude sums up why its broke....

Dixieman
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Dixieman 08/19/11 - 11:11 am
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wmhv - You are wrong on

wmhv - You are wrong on several counts. I love nature and want a great natural environment for my children. But you should realize that there are extremist ecological groups who want to destroy our economy. I believe in a balanced approach.

emergencyfan
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emergencyfan 08/19/11 - 11:21 am
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Didn't this used to be called

Didn't this used to be called the Savannah River Raft Race and contain nothing but homemade rafts with drunks?

wmhv
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wmhv 08/19/11 - 03:53 pm
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If you think SRK wants to

If you think SRK wants to destroy our economy you are the extremist dixieman. The industries that pollute our River are not a summation of our economy and I think our economy would survive if they were all forced to limit/eliminate pollution output. SRK helped influence Olin to change their cl production technology. Was that a bad thing too??? Oh yeah, "If it aint broke don't fix it, right?" Well it is broke and you or I might not see the full effects of that, but my four year old son most likely will. What balance are you talking about?

Crime Reports and Rewards TV
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Crime Reports and Rewards TV 08/19/11 - 01:08 pm
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SRK & i have cleaned up much

SRK & i have cleaned up much of the broken glass, old tires, Barbed wire, Razor sharp rusty metal, snagged lures, trot lines, discarded appliances, broken TV's and other hazards that made the river an attractive nuisance. Now the River is a multi million dollar tourist attraction that has created many new jobs. The things that SRK couldn't put up with was the dumping of raw sewage and mercury directly into the river, and in those clean up's and upgrades MANY millions in new investment is being poured into Augusta by absentee landlord corporations that siphon money OUT of Augusta.

SRK has CREATED nothing BUT jobs whose folk BOUGHT houses from realtors that really appreciated the sales, and never cost us a single job. This is what i am eye witness to. Last year i broke all records picking up trash from the GOOD sides of town where SRK had never been. Now the Good Side of Columbia County and Aiken County is much cleaner and safer too and i have the pictures to PROVE IT. We'll be the upriver rapids rescue flotilla and you can call me names as i surf by on my VERY efficient SeaDoo making sure the visitors flowing into town to enjoy this stay safe, hydrated, and happy so they can come back and pump MORE money into our small bizes again next year:o)

wmhv
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wmhv 08/19/11 - 04:54 pm
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...

...

Crime Reports and Rewards TV
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Crime Reports and Rewards TV 08/19/11 - 05:59 pm
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Remember that 12 inch long

Remember that 12 inch long "Bayonet" formed from a Big Bottle of wine being broken that they put me on TV for finding in Lake Olmstead?
That was stuck down in the mud so it could have cut right through someone’s artery not even giving them time to get to a hospital before they bled out. We have saved a bunch of injuries and probably a few lives but we don’t get credit for it because they never had to go to the emergency room or the morgue. Scott Hudson’s First Saturday Foundation, Mike Stacy of The Augusta Marina’s and i dug enough broken glass out of the Amphitheater and the Canal to cause the ER to drop in expenses for the months following our cleanup cause folks weren’t coming in for so many stitches.
ha hahah

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