This Sunday, July 10, Mountain Equipment Co-op is hosting its annual Paddlefest Event in Vancouver. Yours Truly will be there at Jericho Beach, taking photos, maybe doing a bit of paddling, generally taking it all in...
The event is a celebration as well as a bit of trade show, all revolving around paddling and all of its associated activities. It began in Toronto in 2005, and quickly started popping up in other Canadian cities. The first Vancouver event took place in 2007. This year, Paddlefest events take place in 12 different Canadian cities, as far east as Halifax, and as far west as Victoria. Many of them have already taken place.
In Vancouver, the Jericho Beach event takes place this Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be water and dry land clinics, (including an opportunity for some to try stand-up paddling), demo boats for paddlers to try out and draws for prizes. New to the event this year is the Marketplace, which includes the MEC Paddle Swap where you can swap, buy or sell used boats, paddling equipment and necessities.
This year's exhibitors include the Canadian Canoe Museum, Stand-up Paddle Vancouver and Western Canoeing and Kayaking. And while it is a celebration of paddling, also participating are some non-profit organizations that while they are not exactly paddling associations, they do have a water connection, including the Vancouver Aquarium, CPAWS, Georgia Strait Alliance.
Don't worry about spending all that time in the outdoors and getting the growlies - there will be food vendors there.
The on-water clinics cost $5, and you have to register; most of them are already filled. The rest of the day is free.
So if you're an experienced paddler, or just getting into kayaking or canoeing, or if you're somewhere in-between expert and beginner, you'll probably enjoy getting out and spending some time meeting new paddlers, re-acquainting yourself with old paddling buddies, trying out new products or just soaking it all in.
Hope to see you there, because like they say, a bad day paddling beats a good day doing almost anything else...