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Friday, 29 October 2010 05:49

Paddle your way to the Calusa Blueway Festival

Written by Laura Gates
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Ron Liles, armed with a metal spatula, waits on for mullet fillets to finish cooking at the Riverfest Fish Fry at Riverside Park in Bonita Springs on Friday. The event, co-sponsored by the City of Bonita Springs, was part of the Calusa Blueway Paddling Festival taking place from Oct. 23 to Nov. 1. Ron Liles, armed with a metal spatula, waits on for mullet fillets to finish cooking at the Riverfest Fish Fry at Riverside Park in Bonita Springs on Friday. The event, co-sponsored by the City of Bonita Springs, was part of the Calusa Blueway Paddling Festival taking place from Oct. 23 to Nov. 1. Photo by AARON HALE
BONITA SPRINGS — The fifth annual Calusa Blueway Paddling Festival runs from Friday through Nov. 7, providing 10 full days of abundant outdoor fun.

The event celebrates the Great Calusa Blueway, Southwest Florida’s 190-mile paddling trail, which meanders from Bonita Springs to Pine Island Sound and up the Caloosahatchee River, and was named for the Calusa Indians.

Festivities include canoe and kayak races, a kayak fishing tournament and paddling clinics, as well as other assorted fun for the whole family.


caloosaThe multitude of events is designed to appeal to serious kayakers, eco-tourists and novices.

“We like to think of it as a buffet,” said Betsy Clayton, Lee County’s Waterways Program Coordinator.

If you become overwhelmed at the possibilities, don’t panic. Just find the “Blueway Mobile,” and volunteers will help you form a plan.

The festival kicks off Friday with an opening party at The Prawnbroker Restaurant in Fort Myers and a sunset tour of Lover’s Key by kayak.

Saturday, has been dubbed the Great Outdoor Adventure Day at Lover’s Key Park from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event features children’s activities, mini-trips, on-water demos, guided walking tours and a geocaching session.

The fun continues at Bonita Springs RiverFest, from 2-8 p.m. at Riverside Park. RiverFest kicks off with kayak and canoe races and even includes a rubber duck challenge.

The following Saturday brings “Free Day at the Bay,” in honor of National Estuaries Day. Nov. 7 marks the festival’s end with an all-day party at The Nauti Mermaid in Cape Coral.

With so many scheduled events, there’s something for everyone to explore along the Great Calusa Blueway.

Check out the full schedule at www.calusabluewaypaddlingfestival.com.

Last modified on Friday, 29 October 2010 17:18

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