Kristina Williams is an avid runner, but when looking for an activity her husband, who doesn’t run, would enjoy, she turned to kayaking.
“We bought some kayaks and then my competitive juices kicked in and I was looking for races and events to do,” said Williams, who has two children.
When she didn’t find any local kayaking events, she decided to organize her own. The second annual Benderdinker will be held Saturday, April 27, from Betty’s Branch at Riverside Park in Evans. The non-competitive event will include live music and food as participants paddle down the Savannah River.
Benderdinker sets out to bring awareness to “silent sports and slow foods,” while providing a relaxing and enjoyable atmosphere.
Ther e will be seven Bender sponsor stops along the route, with musicians Matt Acosta, Allison Foster, Chuck & Jason, Keith Fields, Mason Jars, Ramblin Fevers and Grilled Things featured.
Kayakers will launch in waves, beginning at 10 a.m., with a new group launching every 15 minutes.
Local food vendors, a mini hobby farm exhibit and children’s area will also be part of the event. There is free admission, but those wishing to kayak must register. There is a $35 per vessel registration fee for online registrants before the date of the event. The day of the event, registration will be $40. Participants who register early will receive one free T-shirt. Additional T-shirts can be purchased the day of the event.
Williams estimates between 300 and 400 people participated in last year’s event, which serves as a fundraiser for several local organizations. This year, Augusta Locally Grown, Camp Sweet Life and the Savannah Riverkeeper will share the proceeds.
“The beneficiaries were chosen because of what they had in common with the event and our mission, as well as the people who were involved in helping put the event on,” said Williams. “We chose Augusta Locally Grown for the ‘slow foods’ movement as well as the purchasing-local agenda. Kim Hines also heads up the local fest and provides us with all of our awesome food vendors for the day.”
The Savannah River-keeper was chosen because of her work to keep the waterways clear of debris and pollutants. Savannah Riverkeeper Tonya Bonitatibus is also the organizer of Paddlefest.
“Camp Sweet Life was chosen initially because Vendor Coordinator Gret-chen Daly is the chair of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and we wanted to highlight diabetes and how it can affect families,” said Williams. “Georgia Regents University’s Camp Sweet Life was a good way to do that.”
Camp Sweet Life helps Benderdinker emphasize the “slow foods and silent sports” concept by “encompassing a healthy lifestyle and the examples of that,” explained Williams. “These type 1 children don’t have much of a choice on eating healthy and living and having an active lifestyle’’.
For more information or to register, visit www.