DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation’s Delaware Seashore State Park will host “Paddlefest” for the third year in a row on Saturday, Aug. 24 at Delaware Seashore State Park.
“Paddlefest” was created to celebrate the park’s wildlife-rich salt marshes, as well as the park’s 50th anniversary in 2017. It is now an annual event due to popular demand. Last year, 200 paddlers participated, and park staff are anticipating up to 300 paddlers this year.
The event last year was specifically geared toward the experienced kayaker, as the course meanders through four miles of salt marsh creeks where heat, wind, and tide are all factors that can make it a real challenge. Although the course remains the same, a much shorter, family-friendly course has been added to accommodate paddlers of all abilities. Park staff will be stationed throughout both courses to discuss wildlife and local history, as well as to provide emergency assistance.
New in 2019, at the end of the course, paddlers are invited to attend the Paddlefest After-Party at the Indian River Life-Saving Station Museum.
“The last two years of this event were so positive, that it left everyone wanting more,” says Laura Scharle, Interpretive Programs Manager for the park. “We had a food truck in previous years, but we felt like we needed a bigger celebration after a long paddle, so this year we’ve lined up more food options, a beer vendor, live music, and a variety of activities and exhibitors.”
Food will be available for purchase from the Sea Hogg Street Eats and Uncle John’s Smokehouse food trucks, and beer will be available for purchase from the Big Oyster Brewery. Live music will be provided by Blind Wind from Noon – 4 p.m. If food, drinks, and music aren’t enough, various vendors and exhibitors will be at the party such as a live animal exhibit through DNREC Fish & Wildlife, guided stretching and yoga for post-paddling relaxation, a DIY wooden kayak exhibit from Chesapeake Light Craft, information on Delaware Sea Grant’s new Paddle Coastal Delaware website, and more. Paddlefest t-shirts will also be available to participants on a limited basis.
Advance reservations are required and the fee is $25 per person to participate in the full course, and $15 for the family course. Participants may bring their own kayaks, or they may rent from Coastal Kayak in Fenwick Island. For more information, visit facebook.com/delawareseashorestatepark/events or call the Indian River Life-Saving Station at (302) 227-6991. To register online, visit https://bit.ly/2UwN6xK.