WINSTON-SALEM — Registration is now open for the 2018 Yadkin Riverkeeper Tour of paddling experiences down North Carolina’s second longest river. Each year, Yadkin Riverkeeper connects thousands of people, including children, families and civic organizations, to the water and outdoors. This year’s tour is also a winery tour sponsored by Sanders Ridge Winery, Carolina Heritage Vineyard & Winery, Childress Vineyards, 107KZL-FM, Foothills Brewing, GET:OUTDOORS Paddlesports, WFDD-FM and Feisty PR.
This year’s tour kicks off with a fundraiser at Sanders Ridge Winery in Boonville on May 19 from noon to 5 p.m. This is a new stop on the annual tour. Registration covers a full wine tasting, free beer, elegant food, music and fun after the paddle. Children 8 years and older are welcome.
Ken and Christine Putnam host the second leg of the tour with a Paddle & Potluck on June 24 from 3 to 9 p.m. in East Bend. It is a fun afternoon of paddling; then, settle into an evening of music with Martha Bassett. Everyone is encouraged to bring a potluck dish to share. During the evening, there will be free beer and wine.
The Carolina Heritage Vineyard & Winery tour allows participants to paddle around one of the most beautiful small towns in America on July 21 from noon to 5 p.m. Meet at Crater Park in Elkin and paddle to Mitchell River where paddlers will head to Carolina Heritage for food, wine, beer, music and fun. They will be shuttled back to their cars at Crater Park where they can choose to experience a night of camping by the river.
The 107KZL-FM Paddle at Childress Vineyards on Aug. 25 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. wraps the tour and is the biggest paddling event of the summer. There will be food, beverages, music and fun for the whole family.
“The tour is our most important program all year,” said Terri Pratt, executive director of Yadkin Riverkeeper. “Each paddle takes people through the most beautiful stretches of the river with activities that allow paddlers to explore the communities that line its banks. Each weekend offers something new and exciting. We hope you bring your friends and families and join us.”
Novice and experienced paddlers can register for all paddles or for just one day. Each paddle day or event requires separate online registration at YadkinRiverkeeper.org or call 336-722-4949. Paddlers with their own boats are charged a paddling fee to cover insurance, shuttle, processing fees and entry to the post-paddle events.
Those who have paid the Yadkin Riverkeeper membership fee of $25 will get discounted fees to paddle. There are a limited number of additionally discounted paddling fees at each event for people who volunteer to help run a portion of the experience, e.g. registration, water safety, etc.
Yadkin Riverkeeper has negotiated preferred rental rates: A kayak (holds one person) rents for an additional $37 or a canoe (holds two people) for an additional $49.