Paddle Up

Photography by Addie Strozier

Photography by Addie Strozier

With about 1,000 people from 12 states and 800-plus vessels on the Savannah River for the Benderdinker in 2016, last year’s paddle was the most successful one yet. And the popular event, scheduled for Saturday, April 29, seems to expand every year. 

“We expect to continue growing and getting people involved in this thriving community of kayakers,” say Kristina Williams, the Benderdinker founder. 

The Benderdinker once again will include a leisurely, noncompetitive trek on the Savannah River, where paddlers can stop and listen to music and sample locally sourced snacks (think pork/veggie tamales and roasted or boiled peanuts) along the six-mile route. And along with communing with nature, paddlers can enjoy the camaraderie of fellow rowers aboard kayaks, canoes or standup paddle boards as well. 

Once paddlers have completed the route, there is no need to pack up and go home. An on-land festival will include games such as pickup volleyball, corn hole, giant tic-tac-toe, ladder golf, mini disc golf and bocce ball. Vendors will offer demos of their products and sell food. Paddlers ages 21 and older can quench their thirst with craft beer. 

The music will continue at the festival, and a Nashville duo, Me & Molly, is returning this year to headline the musicians that will perform.

Benderdinker registration is available online through Sunday, April 23, and check-in will be held 5:30-7 p.m. Friday, April 28 and 8-10 a.m. Saturday, April 29. Latecomers also can register online through midnight Friday, April 28 or in person at check-in Friday night or until 11:45 a.m. the day of the event. Sorry, no T-shirts or goodie bags for procrastinators.

If You Go:

What: Benderdinker 

When: Saturday, April 29; paddle launches 10-11:30 a.m.; Riverfest noon-5 p.m.

Where: Riverside Park at Betty’s Branch, Evans

How Much: $40 per vessel. Cost to rent kayak or canoe is not included. Food, beer and other beverages will be available for purchase at the festival.

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