Paddlepalooza Celebrates Labor Day Weekend In Lake Country
The mission of Paddlepalooza is simple: grab your paddle, get out on the water, and enjoy.
“To see everybody as a group paddling across the lake together and especially when we have weather like this, everybody is happy and everybody is in a good mood,” said Minnesota Surf Company President Evan Lawrence.
It’s a positive attitude to keep in mind as summer comes to a close.
“It’s the end of the summer, and I couldn’t think of a better way to just get one more blast of sun, a nice crispy sunburn and all of that kind of stuff. It just makes me happy,” said paddler Anne Dykstra.
Lawrence started the event four years ago to unite like-minded people who just want to enjoy their time out on the lakes.
“We had been doing paddleboard races and I noticed that we had limited participation because not that many people actually want to go out and race a paddleboard or canoe or anything like that,” said Lawrence. “But the idea of just going out on a really fun group paddle is more inviting.”
Nearly 80 people of all ages headed out on Lake Nisswa in their kayak, paddleboard or canoe to make the five-mile trip to Gull Lake.
“It’s nice to see everyone out on the water and not in a fast boat, but just enjoying the leisure of kayaking and canoeing and being out there taking your time and enjoying the waterways,” said kayaker Kelly Preusser. Cindy Kosterba agreed. “It’s nice not to feel rushed because I am not a fast kayaker, I like to enjoy the scenery.”
Along the route, paddlers took a break about halfway for a barbeque, and then once the whole group gathered, they continued on their way to their final stop at Zorbaz.
“Anytime you can get people together to be active and do things actively outside is just a great thing,” Dykstra said.
Besides the food and exercise benefit, paddlers attend Paddlepalooza each year to benefit local charities.
“We are raising money for the HART animal shelter and that is important to us because we love dogs,” said Kosterba.
Ten percent of ticket sales and additional donations were given to HART Animal Rescue and Discovery Horse in Fort Ripley.