August 15 & 16 | Fairport Harbor
Runners aren’t the only ones with quirky races and decadent afterglow breakfasts; paddlers get into the spirit as well. The Paddle for a Purpose is one such event. The 3.5-mile kayak race to benefit the American Cancer Society sends enthusiasts cruising down the Grand River into Fairport Harbor Saturday, Aug. 16, for a pancake breakfast and a whole day of kayak-centric activities on Lake Erie.

Paddlefest officially kicks off the evening before, with a moonlight kayak cruise. The Saturday party is designed to be family friendly, with games, a DJ and skits. And of course, tons of kayak events, from musical kayaks (think musical chairs in the water) to a kayak obstacle course and relay race.

“It’s a very user-friendly sport,” says Lake Metroparks recreation manager and this year’s Paddlefest organizer, Leigh Garam. “It’s green. It’s environmentally safe.” And for landlubbers who’ve never held a paddle, Garam is enthusiastic about learning. “We teach a lot of kayak and canoe programs, and we see so much success — the people that go away after the program are very happy, and they’re surprised at how well they do.” There will be kayaks available to rent for the moonlight kayak cruise as well as the events throughout the day on Saturday.
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