Calusa Blueway Paddling Festival
The 8th annual Calusa Blueway Paddling Festival Fort Myers scheduled for November 1 to 3 on and near the Sanibel Causeway offers events and attractions for kayakers of all levels:
avid paddlers looking to network with enthusiasts, occasional kayakers who want to learn more, local residents looking to try out a kayak or SUP for the first time, and parents and kids interested in paddling together in a family-friendly race. The event will feature paddling equipment demos, speakers, on-water demonstrations, fishing tournament, relay race, live music, hearty local restaurant fare and more.
A complete program of scheduled events is available online at www. CalusaBluewayPaddlingFestival.com. Event organizers aim to make it easier and more convenient for Southwest Floridians to participate, with one location for evening events and a second location for daytime activities.
Nightly events begin at 6 p.m. on November 1 and 2 at the Residence Inn by Marriott Fort Myers-Sanibel, 20371 Summerlin Road in Fort Myers.
Daytime festivities span from noon to 5 p.m. on November 1, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
November 2 and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
November 3 on Island A along the Sanibel Causeway. Admission options make it easier to attend this year,
: a daytime, singleadmission rate of $5 per person (kids under 12 are free) may be purchased on-site, and one rate for single admission to one of two evening events ($20) which may be purchased online at www.floridasee.org.
A part of the proceeds benefit CROW (the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife) and the Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail, the 190-mile trail along Lee County waters featuring mangrove forests, more than 300 species of birds and sugar-sand beaches. For the evening events, parking is free at the Residence Inn by Marriott Fort Myers-Sanibel. For the daytime events on Sanibel Causeway Island A, festival-goers can drive to the causeway and park for free; the $6 toll to enter the causeway is not waived. Both evening events will be sponsored by the Florida Society for Ethical Ecotourism. Join fellow travelers for a full evening of sharing paddling stories, networking, reviewing trail maps, drinks and dinner, live music, and "meet the authors" special programming from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. To order your limited seating tickets visit www.floridasee.org.; cost of $20 per person. A raffle of ecotours provided by Florida SEE members will take place each evening as a part of these two evening events.
Food and drinks will be provided courtesy of Calusa Blueway Outfitters. The festival's grand prize for its annual raffle is presented by Kayak Voyagers: a five-day trip for two aboard the fully crewed outrigger catamaran Mirage valued at more than $3,500.
The winning ticket will be drawn at the festival on November 3. Another sponsor, Estero River Outfitters, will give away a Hobie fishing kayak to the grand-prize winner of the November 2 Calusa Blueway Fishing Tournament at Pineland Marina on Pine Island. The annual relay race for stand-up paddleboards, kayaks and canoes will begin at noon on November 3 on Sanibel Causeway Island A. Entry is $5 for the race that will include one, two or three team members. Following this race, festival-goers can participate for free in the first-ever Doggy Paddle race. This race will allow participants to compete with their canines in a small relay and allow four-legged friends to be present when the Kayak Voyagers prize winner is announced.
For more information on the festival, visit www.CalusaBluewayPaddlingFestival. com or call 533-7275.
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