After a successful first run in 2012, Benderdinker is expected to be bigger and better in 2013.
The Benderdinker, a two-hour noncompetitive kayak or canoe paddle on the Savannah River accompanied by a festival on land, is set for Saturday, April 27, starting at Betty’s Branch in Riverside Park in Evans at 10 a.m.
Organizers estimate between 300 and 400 paddlers participated in the inaugural event last year, but are expecting even more participants this year after a good push with online registration.
“I’m guessing by the 20th we’ll be at 250 people,” said Kristina Williams, the event’s founder. “We’re planning for around 500.”
It is also more than just a water event, as there is a festival with music, food, craft vendors and activities for children.
Admission to the event is free, but those planning to go on the water will be charged $40 per vessel. All the proceeds will go to three nonprofit organizations.
Local musicians will provide entertainment and the festival will highlight locally-grown foods.
The Columbia County Convention and Visitors Bureau is one of the sponsors of the event.
“It’s the opportunity to support these events that not only bring people to town, but they also highlight the very things that we not only should be proud of but really want to utilize and market to the rest of the world,” said CVB Executive Director Randy DuTeau.
Williams is happy with the way the event has grown so far.
“We’ve got more stops on the water than last year; we’ve got different bands from last year,” she said. “We’ve also got a little more food variety than last year, more local foods, different craft vendors that are participating.”
Williams also has advice for those planning to attend.
“They’re going to want to bring sunscreen. They’re going to want to be there early and realize they cannot park in the lower level by the water,” Williams said. “There’s a valet system we have set up that will haul their boats down to the color-coded launching area. They can’t just pull right up there and drop their stuff off.”