Hundreds of people will flock to Betty’s Branch at Riverside Park in Evans on Saturday, April 26, to celebrate the third annual Benderdinker.
The three-hour noncompetitive paddle, which begins at 10 a.m., will include live music and local foods as participants paddle down the Savannah River.
“Last year, we had over 500 people on the water,” said event organizer Kristina Williams. “That includes people in canoes, kayaks, stand-up paddle boards and even rafts. It’s a family- and pet-friendly event. Several of our participants bring their dogs.”
Williams said the main goal of the Benderdinker is to offer a “great time for our participants, bring awareness to silent sports and slow foods and to raise as much money for our local nonprofits as possible.”
Each year, organizers try to expand and improve on the event, which includes a leisurely paddle down the river as local musicians perform at various spots along the route. This year, local chefs will take to the water. Three food stops and five music stops are slated for the 4.5 mile paddle.
“We keep trying to improve it each year and eventually we will have a recipe we stick with,” said Williams. “This year we added a full lunch on the water using locally sourced or grown foods prepared by Chef Dave McCluskey.”
Activities for children include bender-bingo and bendora bracelet where youngsters can get new beads at designated stops along the paddle. There will also be some activities on land.
Registration for this year’s event can be done by going to www.benderdinker.com. Registration is $35 per person if done by April 20 and includes lunch and a goody bag. Registration after this date will be $40 and can be done the day of the event.
Participants may paddle in a canoe or raft with multiple people under one registration, but only one goody bag and lunch will be provided per registration.
A complete listing of stops, including musical entertainment provided and food stops expected, can be found online. Children under 13, as well as pets, must have a life vest.
Proceeds from this year’s event will benefit Augusta Locally Grown, Camp Sweet Life, The Savannah Riverkeeper and The BenderDigger.