Online shopping – could it be any easier? Visit a website, click, and you get doorstep delivery the next day.
The Mid-American Canoe & Kayak Race takes that technology to canoe and kayak rentals – mainstream convenience, you could call it.
In conjunction with regional boat suppliers, their discount rental program eliminates the need for you do anything – except click.
You don’t need to be a boat owner to paddle the Mid-Am on Sunday, June 4. Simply register your group for the race online and your boats, paddles and personal floatation devices (PFDs) will be waiting at your chosen start area on race day.
All you have to do is show up.
After you enjoy your time on the Fox River – paddling either the 10-mile route from St. Charles or the 6-miler from Batavia – beach your boat at McCullough Park in Aurora and walk 50 yards inland, where you’ll be in the middle of the post-race festivities that include lunch, music, cold beer, food vendors, interviews, prize drawings and race awards.
It’s the canoe and kayak version of valet parking.
If you really enjoy convenience, start race day by parking your car near the finish area at the Prisco Community Center (150 W. Illinois Ave., Aurora) and riding a free shuttle bus to the start. No need to retrieve your car after the race; it will be waiting patiently for you at the post-race party.
Given the popularity of the shuttle option in recent years, the Mid-Am utilizes two full-size school buses – and five vehicles in all – to transport many more paddlers with each trip.
The boat rental program began in 2009 to make the Mid-Am more accessible for those who have always wanted to paddle the Fox River, but didn’t have their own boat.
Adding the shorter Batavia route has introduced more people to the river. Families, young paddlers and newcomers have since discovered that paddling a boat amid the steady current, scenic channels and many islands of the Fox is a uniquely enjoyable experience.
“Fun” defines the Mid-Am. For those who are paddling for the first time, assuring it’s a festive event leaves a favorable impression of this great sport.
At the same time, organizers have maintained competitive spirit of racing in this event, which is why early heats are reserved for the top racers – so they have a clear run of the river to post the fastest times.
Good times and competition… rolled into one. All registered paddlers receive lunch (grilled hamburger or hot dog, chips and drink), T-shirt, goodie bag and entry for prize drawings. Local restaurants will be on hand selling sub sandwiches, hamburgers, hot dogs, popcorn, ice cream and other tasty treats. Friends, family and spectators are welcome.
And you’ll be treated like a celebrity at the North Aurora dam, where the Lions Club will have the public address system at full volume to serenade paddlers as they approach – always a fan favorite.
Your boat is waiting. Click that mouse, and you’ll soon have a paddle in your hand. But don’t delay – pre-registration ends on May 31 and additional rental boats will NOT be available on race day.