St. John Valley

Seventh annual Canoe and Kayak race coming to St. John River

On Father’s Day weekend, kayakers and canoers from around the region will take to the St. John River for the Valley’s seventh annual Greater Grand Isle Flatwater Canoe and Kayak race, hosted by the Grand Isle Homecoming Committee. 

Beginning at 10 a.m. on June 19, the roughly 8.5-mile race from the Madawaska boat landing to the Grand Isle boat landing features race brackets for kids and adults, canoes and kayaks. The race route features an array of boating conditions, something that the race chairperson, Brian Bouley, said draws competitors from across the state.

“There are some spots especially in Grand Isle that are very, very deep and then there’s a section in Madawaska where your boat will rub the bottom,” Bouley said. 

The Homecoming Committee, on which Bouley is a board member, is expecting their biggest race yet based on preliminary registrations. Bouley said this may be in-part due to travellers looking to get out to an in-person, but relatively safe event as the state safety regulations the COVID-19 pandemic ease.

The event also features a raffle — the top prize is a kayak, donated by Madawaska Tractor Supply Co. Additional prizes come from donations from area businesses. At the finish line, Grand Isle ATV Club will sell hamburgers and hot dogs. 

People interested in participating can register by downloading the form off the race’s Facebook page, in person at the Grand Isle General Store or on the day-of at the starting line beginning at 8 a.m. 

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