“Many local people don’t realize how great the Clearwater River is. That’s why I want to keep the Kayak Festival going – to expose the people of Clearwater to how amazing it is.”
That’s the testimony from Mat Kasunick, one of the organizers of this year’s Clearwater Kayak Festival.
The three-day festival will be held July 25, 26 and 27.
Activities will begin on the Friday evening with registration for participants at Interior Whitewater.
Registrations will continue Saturday morning as the downriver races begin.
The downriver races will take place in fun Class 3 rapids in the mid-canyon. There are several good spots to watch from, Kasunick said.
That evening there will be a music concert at Serenity Center, which is located between Birch Island and Vavenby on Lost Creek Road.
Sunday will see the freestyle rodeo event, which is usually held at Pink Mountain or Little Pink, two standing waves on the lower part of the river.
Spectators can park on the road and then walk to the river.
“It’s a great spot for people to see what the kayakers can do with their boats – a lot of cool moves,” said the event organizer.
The Clearwater Kayak Festival attracts participants from all over the world but is essentially a fun event.
“It’s not about winning. It’s about enjoying the river and the other paddlers,” Kasunick said.
There has been good cooperation from businesses, both local and non-local, in providing food, prizes, plus raffle and auction items – including a kayak trip to Ecuador.
Clearwater Kayak Festival was started by Ben Earle, a local whitewater guide who passed away in 2008.
Outdoor guide Brenda Parks kept it going for a while until she moved away. Two years passed without a festival but in 2013 a local committee formed to revive it in Earle’s memory.