The next Paddles Up Niagara will promote Grand Island at the eighth annual edition of the signature event of the Niagara River Greenway Commission.
The first planning meeting for Paddles Up Niagara 2013 was convened at 9:30 a.m. on April 10 in the Niagara River Greenway Commission office in Beaver Island State Park. Organizers of the event will use the slogan "Discover Grand Island at the 8th annual Paddles Up Niagara."
During the meeting the traditional activities that have been a part of the Paddles Up Niagara were reviewed. New concepts and ideas were also suggested that organizers hope will add interest and vitality to this year's event, including plans this year to offer the opportunity for businesses and organizations to promote Grand Island through the Paddlesports Festival.
The planning meeting was attended by Rob Belue, executive director of the Niagara River Greenway Commission; Andy Hillman, park manager, Beaver Island State Park; Paul Leuchner, commissioner emeritus, Niagara River Greenway Commission; and Linda Tufillaro, director, Town of Grand Island Parks and Recreation Department.
The foundation of Paddles Up is a non-competitive paddle that starts at Little Beaver Island Launch Site and continues to East River Marsh Launch Site then back to Little Beaver, all within Beaver Island State Park, a 4.8-mile journey.
The event traditionally takes place in July,
Preceding the paddles, a festival takes place near the launch point. For 2013, the festival area will be moved from the grove of trees on Little Beaver Island to the area at the foot of the reshaped sledding hill. Organizers say this move will put the exhibitors in the same location as the registration area and the paddlecraft staging area. Visitors will be able to experience all of the festival amenities within a relatively compact area.
Events that will be renewed for this year will include the musically choreographed free style canoe venue and a paddlecraft safety demonstration.
The trolley will be scheduled to arrive at 9 a.m. rather than later in the morning as in previous years to provide for more efficient transport of event participants.
The Grand Island Fire Co. will be asked to bring their aerial truck to the event at 11:15 a.m.
Another meeting will be scheduled for May 1 to further refine plans for Paddles Up 2013. It is anticipated that representatives of the New York State Parks Marine Services Unit, American Canoe Association and the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce as well as other organizations will participate in this second session.