By Natalie Strom
Grab your paddle and head to The Esplanade on November 4th, for the second annual Marco Island Paddle Challenge. The day of family fun features paddle board and kayak races for all ages. Prizes, games, music, food and drinks await all those who attend.
Hosted by the alumni of Leadership Marco and the Marco Island Chamber of Commerce, the Island Paddle Challenge, “is a fun day event for the whole family,” states Tiffany Homuth, 2007 Leadership Marco graduate and co-chair of the event. “The first race starts at 10:00 AM and the last race will be at 3:00 PM. Registration and check-in begins at 9:00 AM.”
Prizes will be awarded in many categories, including top two winners for adult male and female in sprint and endurance racing. The top two winners in the children’s category will also receive a prize. The cost for each participant is $40 per person per race on the day of the event. Those who would like to pre-register may do so for a cost of $35 per person per race and may sign up at www.marcoislandchamber.org
Endless Summer Adventures of Naples and Marco Island will be providing vessels for racers. Stacey Deffenbaug from NBC-2 News will be the emcee and a 50/50 raffle will be held to win a hand carved paddle board by Juan Rodriguez of One World. Mango’s Dockside Bistro and CJ’s on the Bay will be hosting special menus, donating back to the event’s main cause.
“The money we raise, all the net proceeds will go toward scholarships,” explains Homuth. As a way to give back to the community, Leadership Marco Alumni award a certain amount of $1,000 scholarships to local students every year. Last year, enough money was raised through the Marco Island Paddle Challenge, along with the Wet Paint Live! event, to award nine students with scholarships. The Alumni hope to grant at least eight students with $1,000 during this year’s fund raising efforts.
Those interested in obtaining a scholarship may visit the Marco Island Chamber of Commerce website to learn more.
Sponsors for the event include Mutual of Omaha Bank, Marco Island Marriott, Rose Marina, CJ’s on the Bay, Rick’s Island Salon, Physician’s Regional, Naples Daily News, Marco Eagle, Endless Summer Adventures and Lutgert Insurance.
Whether you go to race or to watch, the day promises to be fun for the whole family. Parking and admission is free. The event will take place at The Esplanade at 760 N. Collier Boulevard. Visit www.marcoislandchamber.org or call 239-394-7549 for more information.