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‘CanoeFest’ trying to break world record

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Atikokan has long been known as the “Canoeing Capital of Canada” and in keeping with that slogan, an effort is underway to set a new world record during CanoeFest there July 19-21.

Organizers are hoping to break the Guinness Book of World Records mark for the largest canoe/kayak raft-up. The big event is planned for Saturday, July 20 at 3 p.m. on Minnow Pond.

CanoeFest co-ordinator Crystal Hart is confident the record will be smashed.

“There’s been a huge response from out of town and in town,” she said. “Everyone’s welcome to come and experience some of the best wilderness canoeing around.”

Organizers figure they’ll need 800 canoes and kayaks in the water to take the current record away from a group in Cleveland, Ohio. Participants will need to hold hands for 30 seconds to set the record, with no anchors or other means of steadying the boats allowed.

A $5 registration fee is required to take part, which also includes a free T-shirt.

The first 100 adult registrants to call and say they’re from Fort Frances also will receive free pewter Labatt’s key chains and a chance to win $450.

“We have people coming from Ohio, Minnesota, Nova Scotia, and many surrounding northern communities, including Fort Frances, Thunder Bay, and Kenora,” Hart said.

“We are sure that we will beat the record. We are expecting over 350 from out of town.”

Many other canoe-related activities and events for the entire family are planned that weekend, including races, picnics, chances to fish and explore, and food and refreshments.

The Atikokan River Challenge takes place on the Saturday morning and the Winnipeg band, the Fleshtone Rockets, will play that night. There also will be many daytime activities, including a fish fry, a cherry pit-spitting contest, and a Water Walker film festival.

For more information, contact Hart or Pam Fraser at 1-807-597-1599 or via e-mail at canoefest@nwon.com

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