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Paddlefest to return June 12
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After being washed ashore due to COVID last year, Paddlefest is planning to return to the water again in June. Pictured are kayakers leaving Pepper Branch Park during the start of a previous Paddlefest.

Paddlefest, the annual kayak float and race which serves as a fundraiser for Kids of the Community, is set to return Saturday, June 12, at 10 a.m. at Pepper Branch Park. 

Racers and floaters will make the 8-mile river journey along the Barren Fork River and Collins River to Wild Bill’s BBQ, formerly the VFW building.

The entry fee is $25 to enter the kayak race or the float, which includes a T-shirt and a meal. Kids of the Community staff and volunteers will be on hand to help participants get their kayaks into the river and then up the boat ramp and out of the water following the race/ float. Kayaks are not provided but can be rented from local kayak rental establishments for those folks in need of a means of floatation or racing.

All proceeds go to Kids of the Community, which seeks to instill a sense of belonging in area children through homework help, computer classes, cooking classes, financial literacy instruction, art classes, community service projects, and recreation opportunities.

Sponsors are being sought, and those interested in sponsorship opportunities can contact Barry Dishman at 931-273-3875 or Pam Pescevic at (928) 713-5014..

Said Pescevic, “We want people to come out and have a good time, and in doing so they’ll be supporting a wonderful program that helps serve the youth of our community.”

Dishman said with fundraising events stalled during the last year because of COVID-19, “all the nonprofits are struggling.” He says Kids of the Community, which currently serves 230 children in 150 disparate families, has been focusing on food insecurity over the last year and has served about 12,000 meals to children over that period.

Dishman invites folks to come out June 12 and “have a big day, scream as loud as you want to, splash water on your neighbors, and have a good time.”