Open Standard Media Player version 1.3
TWO HARBORS - Fifteen years ago, there was a vision for a kayak race on Lake
The race was originally planned for Duluth, but because of
rough shore waters, organizers decided on Two Harbors.
"We pulled it off that first year and now here we sit,
it's our 15th year and it's become a staple here in Two Harbors," said
Scott Newstel, board chair of the Two Harbors Kayak Festival.
Each year, anywhere from 400 to 800 people drive up the
North Shore to experience the Two Harbors Kayak Festival nestled in Burlington
"I do paddling on some lakes and I do the St. Croix River
but coming up here is really sort of special," said Tom Nyman, a returning
racer from Stillwater.
Newstel said, "People are very curious. It's almost
like an amusement ride. They want to get in the kayak and give it a try."
There are two races, of differing lengths. The first race is
the Betty's Pie 5–miler and the other a 16–mile marathon.
"It is treated for a lot of people just like a tour. Five
miles is a typical day tour, so they go out and have some fun with it and they
get a slice of Betty’s Pie when they're done. On the Great River Energy side
those racers are pretty serious paddlers," said Newstel.
The festival has activities for all ages, young and old.
"I kind of take pride in being the oldest guy in the
race. I'll be 73 next Wednesday so I’m sure I’ll once again be the oldest guy
in the race," said Nyman.
But whether you're young or old, many agree the biggest
challenge facing each racer may be Lake Superior and the weather.
"It looks like tomorrow will be a bit on the choppy
side but it should be a good experience for most people," said Newstel.
Nyman said, "When it's calm as glass it's just kind of
cruising and smiling and when it's a little bumpy on top my goal becomes to
finish the race in an upright position."
The Two Harbors Kayak Festival races kick off Saturday morning
starting at 9 a.m. and the festival runs through Sunday at 1 pm.